Adam Rosenberg, writing for Mashable, interviewed Shigeru Miyamoto on the upcoming release of Super Mario Run. According to Miyamoto, Nintendo had to implement an always-on requirement for an Internet connection due to “security” concerns, which he clarified thusly:
Just to be clear: When you say “security,” you mean the risk of piracy, right?
Unlike our dedicated game devices, the game is not releasing in a limited number of countries. We’re launching in 150 countries and each of those countries has different network environments and things like that. So it was important for us to be able to have it secure for all users.
Miyamoto also argues that two of the game’s three modes rely on an Internet connection, and it was easier to go all-in with the requirement. Nintendo may have their reasons, but I don’t think this will go down well with customers who will pay to play a game that was advertised as ideal for one-handed gameplay on subways, where Internet connections are spotty.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo reverses the decision, at least for the main mode. If they don’t, it’s still a disappointment.