When it comes to Mario Kart games, fans of the franchise normally have to wait for the release of a new Nintendo console for the next title to be released. Not this time. Despite the continued popularity of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch, by the end of next month, we will have a brand new Mario Kart game to play in the form of Mario Kart Tour, and we have a sneaking suspicion that it'll be Nintendo's best-performing mobile game yet.
Nintendo's Most Popular Franchise
For starters, Nintendo has never had any problem selling Mario Kart games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling game on Switch, closing in on 18 million copies sold in the two and a half years it has been on the market. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also one of four titles from the franchise that features in the top 25 best-selling Nintendo games of all time. Pretty good for a game that was effectively a spinoff of the Super Mario franchise all the way back in 1993.
The benefit Nintendo gains because Mario Kart games never fade in popularity can be seen in its price point. Two and a half years after it was originally released, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still on sale for the same price as it has always been. Herein lies a problem when it comes to Mario Kart Tour. The game will be free to download, so unlike other Mario Kart games, players will be faced with paying money for extra karts, skins, and tracks. However, games such as Fortnite have proved that gamers are more than willing to do that.
Monetization Made Easy
After a select few were chosen to play Mario Kart Tour's beta earlier this year, a modicum of controversy arose. Not only would players be faced with spending money in-game, but they would need to spend more money to better their odds of landing a character or kart with better stats. If true, that'll leave players who can't or won't spend as much behind. It's a tightrope walk for Nintendo, and we won't know how successful it is at walking it until Mario Kart Tour is released.
Appeals To A Massive Audience
The biggest moneymaking element of all for Nintendo via Mario Kart Tour is its potential audience. Every Mario Kart game up until now has been aimed at those who own the corresponding Nintendo console. Tour, on the other hand, will be available to absolutely anyone who owns an iOS or Android device. To give you an impression of how vast a difference that potential audience is, around 36 million people own a Switch, compared to an estimated 2.5 billion worldwide having a smartphone. The short races and lack of a story you need to know, follow, or connect with will allow for any of those smartphone owners to download the app and play the game right away.
By no means are we suggesting that Mario Kart Tour's downloads will be in the billions. However, we guarantee that it will far outsell any Mario Kart title that has come before it. Super Mario Run on mobile was downloaded 300 million times and ultimately considered a failure. We believe that Tour's downloads will outdo Super Mario Run, and because it will use microtransactions instead of a paywall, we're fairly confident it will make Nintendo a lot more money to boot.