Two weeks and one city tour into Nintendo's latest entry of and first mobile foray into the Mario Kart franchise, and one thing is clear: Mario Kart Tour's monthly subscription is ridiculous, and Nintendo needs to drop the fees in order for the game to survive.
After a promised summer release date (that ended up being way closer to the beginning of fall), Mario Kart Tour dropped on iOS and Android phones everywhere. As the first Mario Kart game after a nearly six-year dry spell, fans were quick to download the game. Over 20 million downloads were reported within the first few days of launch, beating the franchise's best-selling game ever, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In spite of the impressive numbers, fans and critics are unanimous on the consensus for the game's monthly subscription pass: get rid of it.
The "Gold Pass" is a $4.99 monthly subscription that grants players various features in the game, including gifts (like additional rubies and coins), in-game badges, and 200cc speed racing. While the first two features don't add much in terms of actual gameplay, the 200cc speed is a harsh loss for the casual, non-paying gamer.
One of the greatest features of any Mario Kart game is its replay value. Despite not having a storyline, the vast number of courses, different speeds, and sheer number of kart, glider, and character combinations lend itself as a game many fans love to play over again. But by locking one of the speeds in an unfair monthly subscription, Nintendo is shooting itself in the foot in the long run. As more people begin to play Mario Kart Tour, the better people will get at the game. As people get better, the more they'll want to challenge themselves. But after completing the 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc speeds, there'll be nowhere else to go for players unwilling to subscribe to the game's Gold Pass.
On top of the subscription fee, the game has a number of microtransactions, most of which are advertised as the quickest guaranteed way to obtain an exclusive character. If players wanted to race as Mario when the game first dropped, they'd either have to take a chance at the game's "Pipe" - a gacha-style mechanic boasting a mere 1% chance at Mario's drop, or pay $19.99 upfront. It's ludicrous.
It's impossible to dismiss the impressive twenty million downloads. But the game's only been out for a couple of weeks. After all the hype dies down, those numbers will probably drop drastically unless Nintendo does something about about the greedy microtransactions.