Nintendo is going “all-in” for mobile gaming success with its sensational launch of Mario Kart Tour on Android and iOS.
Released on 25 September, the introduction of one of Nintendo’s most storied franchise to mobile gaming signals the Japanese video game company’s desire to succeed in this niche.
“The launch of Mario Kart Tour is easily Nintendo’s biggest mobile game release to date,” says Serkan Toto, a video game analyst based in Tokyo.
Investors Skeptical Over Nintendo’s Monetisation Approach To Mobile Gaming
Mario Kart Tour has generated much hype and anticipation among gamers. However, the same cannot be said for the Kyoto-based company’s investors. So far, general sentiment appears lukewarm regarding Nintendo’s in-game transactions.
Just hours before the official release of the mobile game, Nintendo shares dropped 4.3%. Analysts speculate that the decline was linked to disappointing sales for its latest Switch Lite console. However, there are some who believe that it was in reaction to Ninetendo’s series of misfires in the mobile gaming sphere.
Mario Kart Tour Offers Both Microtransactions And Monthly Subscription Service
While Mario Kart Tour is free to download from the App Store and Google Play, gamers have an option to subscribe to Nintendo’s “Gold Pass”. Costing just under $5 a month, the subscription service unlocks premium features such as faster karts for a more enjoyable experience.
Gold Pass subscribers can also expect to enjoy premium content for other games besides Mario Kart Tour.
Additionally, players can also make in-game purchases, similar to almost all mobile games in the market. By making these microtransactions, gamers receive a virtual loot box containing rare items, such as exclusive characters.
The new pricing model marks a change in in-app purchase strategy for the Japanese electronics company. Nintendo has long been known for its child-friendly revenue model for its games.
Perhaps, this is Nintendo’s response to keeping up with the latest trends in the mobile gaming industry.
Nintendo’s Track Record In The Mobile Gaming Industry
Nintendo made its first foray in the mobile games market with the launch of Super Mario Run back in 2016. Like Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s pioneer mobile game was free to download.
However, its offering of a one-time payment of $10 to unlock premium content drew backlash from the gaming community.
The Japanese gaming company then changed its strategy ealier in July with its second mobile game release.
Dr Mario World utilised the “free-to-play” style of other successful mobile games in the market. The game generates revenue through advertising videos and in-game transactions. However, the gameplay never really resonated with gamers and the title faded into obscurity.
Predictions For Mario Kart Tour — Nintendo’s Latest Attempt
According to Masahiro Ono, a Morgan Stanley MUFG analyst, he anticipates Mario Kart Tour to fare better than its predecessors.
Ono predicts the mobile game to reach 15 million global downloads in the first week. This is three times more the number of global downloads that Dr Mario World garnered in its first week.
As Nintendo (and its supporters) hold their breath, the company can rest easy knowing that they are an established player in the console game market. The recent launch of its Switch Lite console saw almost 200,000 units sold in Japan in the first 3 days.