Amidst a number of other announcements fired out in rapid succession on the Nintendo twitter account last night, Nintendo announced their next big mobile adaptation of one of their flagship franchises: Mario Kart Tour. The announcement consisted of a single tweet with a bland image and a tentative release window, without any additional information, screenshots, video, or any other supporting media.
The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. pic.twitter.com/8GIyR7ZM4z
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018
So, all that we know from this tweet is that the mobile app is “in development”. We can infer that they are likely still somewhat early on in the development process, given that Nintendo gave themselves the rather generous release window of all of FY 19 in which to release the game.
Mario Kart Tour will be the first time Nintendo has brought their award-winning Mario Kart franchise to mobile devices, although you could argue that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is already a fairly “mobile” Mario Kart title, given the handheld nature of the Nintendo Switch as a console.
Nintendo has a somewhat mixed history when it comes to mobile gaming, and some are apprehensive about how Nintendo will handle this next venture into the smartphone space. While their most recent mobile title Animal Crossing Pocket Camp saw decent success due to its familiar gameplay and mostly well-handled microtransaction system, the previous Super Mario Run fell disappointingly flat. Users weren’t sure what to make of the game’s monetization setup, with the game being technically free-to-play but then having 90% of its content hidden behind a one-time cost of $10, and the “endless running” play style didn’t feel quite as Mario-y as many fans were hoping.
Microtransactions for just about any mobile game released these days are very likely, but how will they be handled in this case? Will Mario Kart Tour utilize a similar “try and buy” cost system as Super Mario Run? Will the gameplay actually feel like a real Mario Kart title? We’ll just have to wait and see.