Why Can’t You Play ‘Super Mario Run’ Offline?

You may be excited to buy Super Mario Run to play on your iPhone or iPad come next week, but when you do, you’ll have to make sure you’ve got an internet connection first.

Nintendo’s newest game launches on Dec. 15 and will cost $10. And at least for now, there’s no option for playing the game offline. That means no playing on the subway, or in remote areas with no WiFi and poor connectivity.

While other popular mobile games need the internet to function, like Pokémon Go and Clash of Clans, those games need to pull data in order to function and be any fun. After all, you can’t use GPS to find Pokémon if your phone is in airplane mode.

Super Mario Run, however, is exactly what you would expect: Mario runs from here to there, hopping around and bopping things with his fist to knock prizes loose. It doesn’t seem he’d need the internet for that.

So why did the company decide to require an internet connection? Series creator and Super Mario Run producer Shigeru Miyamoto says it’s an anti-piracy measure.

“For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us,” he told Mashable. “And also for consumers who are purchasing the game, we want to make sure that we’re able to offer it to them in a way that the software is secure, and that they’re able to play it in a stable environment.”

He adds that the company wants to leverage that network connection with all three modes of the game to keep them functioning together.

“This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game,” he said.

Nintendo did think about offering one of the story modes — World Tour — as a standalone option that wouldn’t require an internet connection. They scrapped that idea because it complicates the connection back to the other two modes, which rely on the network save, Miyamoto explained.

But yes, what it all comes down to is preventing piracy, he confirmed to Mashable.

“Unlike our dedicated game devices, the game is not releasing in a limited number of countries,” he explained. “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.”

What remains to be seen is if Nintendo will be ready for the crush of iPhone users looking to play Super Mario Run when it launches. A number of popular games that required an internet connection — perhaps most notoriously, EA’s Sim City — have been rendered unplayable in their first few days as the demand bogs down the developers’ servers.