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Nintendo is finally updating Super Mario Party with online play. This comes — well, not just in time for stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic (which started more than a year ago). But it’s a welcome addition regardless as many people countries await the vaccine. Social distancing is still an everyday reality, and online gaming can help people stay connected with friends and family.

This update was a long time coming, and you can read the patch notes here. Super Mario Party is one of the best-selling games on the current generation of consoles. It has sold 13.82 million copies worldwide as of the end of 2020, according to Nintendo. That puts it ahead of Splatoon 2, and it puts it on par with some of the biggest releases from Sony or Electronic Arts.

Of course, Super Mario Party sells to a different audience than something like Ghost of Tsushima, which has sold 6.5 million copies as of March. Ghost of Tsushima sells a lot of copies quickly to a hardcore audience that cannot wait to play it. That’s opposed to Super Mario Party, which sells steadily throughout the generation to new families picking up a Switch for the first time.

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That family audience is something that Nintendo dominates, but it is also guilty of taking families for granted. Super Mario Party launched 2.5 years ago, but despite its success, Nintendo never released an update. At least, not until now.

With this patch, Nintendo could begin building loyalty even among casual players. Because eventually, the pandemic will end, and Nintendo should do more to ensure families don’t forget about the Switch when other activities return.

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