Tim Cook's East Asia tour is emerging to be quite a success and it appears that he is being given extraordinary welcome.
While in Japan last Oct. 12, he dropped by Nintendo and got an exclusive hands-on preview of its upcoming iOS game Super Mario Run, in addition to meeting its legendary creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
Cook's photo showing him playing the new side-scrolling Mario runner was flanked by Nintendo executives who, for their part, looked thrilled with their visitor's delight. It was posted in Cook's Twitter account.
"Getting the hang of Super Mario Run, thanks to Miyamoto-san and his awesome team at Nintendo!" Cook tweeted.
Before his Japan visit, Cook first came to China where he announced plans to open a research and development facility in Shenzhen. This is widely seen as a guarantee on the part of Apple, demonstrating to the Chinese government its commitment on doing business in the Asian country.
Now, Apple and Nintendo's budding cooperation officially began when Miyamoto appeared on stage during Apple's September event launching the iPhone 7. He demonstrated how the Super Mario Run works and showcased how it stayed true to the Mario franchise while taking advantage of the touch screen platform and the new iOS features. For instance, the amount of pressure or length of time that the player touches the screen determines how high Mario jumps.
Essentially, the game is an endless runner similar to Temple Run except that Mario moves to the right of the screen. He has to collect coins, while avoiding obstacles along the way. The game also features a battle mode called Toad Rally, where players can choose to compete with friends or other gamers around the world.
Apple's recent focus on Nintendo and Miyamoto seems part of the effort to highlight both the quantity and quality of games available in the Apple App store. Currently, the platform boasts of more than 500,000 games from a stable of 2.2 million apps as of 2016.
Nintendo promised to release Super Mario Run in the last quarter of this year. There is, however, no specific schedule yet. But based on the iPhone 7 event demonstration and Cook's actual gameplay, the app seems ready for rollout.
Super Mario Run is not going to be free. The price has not been disclosed yet but Nintendo believes that a one-time fee is a better model for the game than having users pay for items within the app. It is also not yet clear whether the game will head to Android devices or whether it gets the same schedule as the iOS release.