This coming Friday, the city of Los Angeles will welcome the first theme park dedicated to the Japanese video game industry, Super Nintendo World. There’s a Mario Kart roller coaster, an interactive Mushroom Kingdom, and a huge shopping and dining complex all connected by a giant green pipe in the style of Super Mario.
This is the first big addition to Universal Studios Hollywood since 2016 when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—an interactive Hogwarts experience—opened. In 2015, following a drop in video game sales caused by the failure of the Wii U platform, Nintendo engaged in a business relationship with Universal Parks & Resorts, which is owned by Comcast.
The move was made to make money off of the most recognizable Japanese company in the world, as shown on video game screens. It was in Osaka, Japan, at Super Nintendo World, that Universal Studios first debuted their theme park dedicated to video games, preceding the more famous location in Hollywood.
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Success has been shown in the Osaka location, which opened in 2021 and features the same rides as well as a full-size reproduction of Bowser’s castle. Media conglomerates like Disney and Comcast are responding to the loss of covid-19 subscribers by pouring resources into building massively profitable theme parks. Super Nintendo World is scheduled to open at the Orlando, Florida, location of Universal by the year 2025.
Tune in tonight at 8 pm PST for a special live stream. You won't want to miss this! 🤩 https://t.co/5Bxy3GDuxh
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ officially opens 2/17/2023!
— Universal Studios Hollywood (@UniStudios) February 15, 2023
The Financials of Comcast’s Universal Theme Park Division
In the 2022 fiscal year, Comcast Universal’s theme park division, which comprises Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Osaka, Japan, is expected to bring in $7.5 billion.
In 2022, Comcast’s theme park sector would see a year-over-year revenue increase of 49.3 percent, making it one of the company’s most lucrative businesses. The United States and Japan have recently eased limits on covid-19, which may be contributing to the dramatic increase.
Loss of 1.9 million cable subscribers in 2022 for Comcast. Also, Comcast anticipates that Peacock, its streaming service, would incur $3 billion in losses before being profitable, which is why the corporation is exploring options like amusement parks to boost income.
For breakfast we’re having Tomato Soup in a Super Mushroom Bowl, Princess Peaches Cupcake and the Super Star Lemon Squash. It’s a great start to opening day. @UniStudios #SuperNintendoWorld pic.twitter.com/Txit4jzQ7m
— Inside Universal (@insideuniversal) February 17, 2023
In Theaters Now, the Super Mario Bros
One of the most anticipated movies of 2023, Super Mario Bros. Movie depicts everyone’s beloved plumber, Mario, defending Princess Peach’s castle from the villainous reptile, Bowser. Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Jack Black will star in a film adaptation of the classic Super Mario narrative.
The trailer hasn’t been well received, and most people blame Pratt’s awkward attempt at an Italian accent. The film represents a significant financial commitment for Nintendo and Universal, with an estimated budget of $80 million. The studio is hoping for more luck than with the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film starring John Leguizamo. The movie was a financial failure, losing almost $10 million.
A Super Bowl commercial for the Super Mario Bros. Movie is airing that harkens back to the ’80s, replete with a real-life phone number for a fictional plumbing company located in Brooklyn.
Can We Expect More and More Theme Parks to Use Augmented Reality Attractions in the Near Future?
The use of augmented reality, or the superimposition of computer-generated imagery on real-world environments, is rapidly becoming standard practice in amusement parks across the globe. Guests at Universal Studios’ newest theme park, Super Nintendo World, may immerse themselves in the world of Mario and other Nintendo characters by using wristbands and interactive binoculars to collect digital coins, battle virtual characters, and more.
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While augmented reality isn’t as widely publicized as virtual reality, it’s already an integral part of our digital life thanks to filtering apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Recently, Snapchat revealed that its platform has more than 300,000 developers working on augmented reality products and that these developers have already created more than 3 million filters that have been used 5 trillion times.
Wearables, such as the interactive binoculars available at the Nintendo theme park, are the next natural step in the development of augmented reality. Microsoft, Meta, and Apple have all put significant resources towards mixed-reality headgear, while the United States military is attempting to incorporate Microsoft’s technology into the technological arsenal of its soldiers despite Google Glass’s infamous failure.
— Inside Universal (@insideuniversal) February 17, 2023
Super Nintendo World’s augmented reality attractions are a preview of what the future of amusement parks (and other forms of entertainment) may hold.
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Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to go to Nintendo World?
In what range do ticket prices for Super Nintendo World fall? Depending on the day, regular theme park admission costs between $109 and $149. The price of a Universal Express pass, which ranges from $199 to $299, includes park admission.
Where is Super Nintendo World Hollywood?
The first Nintendo-themed theme park outside of Japan is opening at Universal Studios Hollywood. Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood opened to the public with fireworks.