Super Mario Run Online! Why are we surprised?

Nintendo recently announced that they are requiring Super Mario Run to have a constant online connection in order to thwart piracy of their game.  Mashable scored an interview with Miyamoto and asked him about this.  

For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us. 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.

We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the [Super Mario Run] modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure. This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.
— Shigeru Miyamoto

Then when asked if "security" risk of piracy Miyamoto said "That's correct."

If we look at Nintendo's history, we shouldn't be surprised that they would make a move like this.  Nintendo has always been a company that dreaded piracy.  This was due to the video game in the early 1980s.  Over 30 years ago home consoles like the Atari 2600 and its clones were flooding the market with really bad games.  So much so that people started returning the games.  This was back when the customer was always right, so stores just took the merchandise back and shipped it back to the manufacturer for a refund.  This decimated the video game industry, and eventually thousands of cartridges were buried in the desert.  Nintendo looked at this while developing the NES and decided in order to keep this from happening they needed to control their market. 

They made sure that the NES would look for a specific chip in a cartridge and if it wasn't there the NES wouldn't play the game present.  This was called the 10NES chip or.  Then they limited game companies to 5 games a year on the NES so they wouldn't push out shovelware.  In addition your titles had to be exclusive to the NES for two years.  This was a good idea at the time, because it stopped developers from pushing out anything that Nintendo deemed of low quality.  

Fast forward to the Nintendo Game Cube.  Nintendo stuck with cartridges for a long while, but when they finally made the jump to disks, they again made a decision based on fears of piracy that hurt them.  The disks for the Game Cube were small, most CDs / DVDs were larger, and could hold more data, but the Game Cube couldn't accept a full size disk.  This meant that it was much harder to pirate Nintendo Games, the downside being that the disks were too small to hold some games.

Nintendo is a very Japanese company, and sometimes they design things with Japan in mind.  In Japan internet access is everywhere.  and the population density is rather high.  This means things like street pass on the Nintendo 3DS work really well over there.  If you don't know Streetpass is a system where two 3DS's come in close proximity to each other will trade information about what games your playing, and sometimes the games you have will use this to give you access to something new in the game.  In rural America however Streetpass is a joke.  We're all just too far apart from each other.  

Clickbait reports have come out that say it uses 75 MB of data per hour, but I'd take those with a grain of salt.  We'll see how much it really uses when the game is out.  my guess is it will be a lot less than that.  Because that's a lot of data.  But it is a good thing the first few levels are free.  My recommendation, if you're angry about the always on connection, vote with your wallet and don't play the game.  I'll try the free version and I'm going to keep a close eye on my data and battery.  Nintendo's first foray into mobile was Miitomo.  Which was a massive battery hog, and I won't be buying this game if it behaves anything like Miitomo.  I totally understand Nintendo's fears of piracy, but they have to stop treating their customers like thieves.  The pirates will find a way around this limitation, and it will only serve to frustrate paying customers.