Yesterday saw the release of Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s new mobile title dedicated to the famous arcade racing series. This is a free-to-play game that has generated some controversy due to the presence of the Gold Pass, as well as of micro-transactions.
As it had already been announced in the past, in fact, it would have been possible to buy in-game some paid contents, such as new characters and karts, and like the possibility to refill the petrol bar and therefore be able to play more games a day.
The Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass, however, came as a surprise. It is a sort of monthly subscription, at a cost of 4.99 euros, which unlocks more exclusive content, such as the 200cc mode or the gold rewards for example, and is a business model that Nintendo had never adopted before in its video games for smartphones.
In Super Mario Run, for example, it was possible to play a portion of the game, and then eventually unlock it all with a one-time payment, but the numbers did not convince the Grande N, obviously. Fire Emblem Heroes, on the other hand, combined free-to-play mechanics with those of gachas, with much better results from an economic point of view.
This strategy of launching a sort of subscription to use a single video game, where for example Apple Arcade at the same price offers a library of 150 games, appears at least strange, not only from an economic point of view.
If in fact at first, the purpose of Nintendo with the entry into the mobile market was to attract to its consoles a wide audience like that of gamer on a smartphone , launch a sort of subscription to its own app, instead invites people to stay on that app.
What is Nintendo trying to do, then? For the moment, experiments. The initial numbers also seem good, since Mario Kart Tour is among the most downloaded apps, despite the controversy. Will the Big N be centered again this time?