Microsoft's well into its X019 stream and the announcements aren't slowing down. While many of the games shown are completely new, one little kart racer took everyone by surprise. Kartrider: Drift will be bringing the "iconic" series to Xbox One and PC very soon.
A free game for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, Drift is based on a long-running Korean racing franchise. Similar in scope to Mario Kart, players will assume the role of a miniature racer and scoot around environments with various weapons at their disposal. It's not exactly original, but it's very bright and cheery.
During X019, two esports players from Korea sampled the game for everyone in the audience. The developers spoke about how Kartrider is all about maintaining drift and figuring out shortcuts. Environments are built in such a way that players can almost create makeshift paths throughout the courses.
The mainly puzzling thing was that Microsoft kept referring to the series as "iconic." Kartrider is likely well known to a certain group of people, but this is the first time anyone in America is actually learning of the game. Maybe this is a nitpick, but that doesn't really scream "legendary" or "well-known."
At any rate, going free is a solid way to get people trying this out. Microsoft previously released some free games for Xbox Live Gold members eons ago, but both it and Sony have focused more on giving out triple-A and indie releases through their respective subscriptions instead of original content. Nintendo definitely has issues with its own service, but it's the only place you'll be playing Tetris 99.
Maybe Kartrider doesn't have the brand recognition of Tetris, but it could become a defacto Xbox franchise if handled properly. Microsoft has a ton of subscribers to Live Gold and it will likely gain more if it keeps updating Game Pass with new releases. If the company positions Kartrider as the premiere reason to sign-up, there's no telling how far it will go.
This is all just speculation, though. Whether or not Kartrider: Drift will become a massive hit, we won't have much longer to wait. The game will be landing on Xbox One next week on November 22, 2019.
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