by Michael Connor
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Nintendo launched its mobile version of the classic video game Mario Kart to iOS and Android devices. Mario Kart Tour is Nintendo’s second mobile app offering gaming experiences with their beloved characters for third-party devices.
Originally set to launch last March, Mario Kart Tour was a highly anticipated app that gained a lot of buzz among the gaming community. Mario Kart was first launched for Nintendo devices back in 1992 and became a fan favorite and signature game in Nintendo’s lineup. Versions of the game were developed for many of Nintendo’s hardware including the GameCube, Wii, NintendoDS and, most recently, the Switch.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, released in 2017, has become one of the bestselling games for the Switch and has only increased the retro game’s popularity. Retro gaming has become a trend in the current market and Nintendo has the assets to capitalize and grow through such a trend.
Nintendo’s audience encompasses all ages and is wide-based. Characters such as Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Yoshi, and Zelda are extremely valuable properties. Creating mobile versions of classic Nintendo games allow Nintendo to push for modernization and greater accessibility.
The 2012 WiiU was, for the most part, a failure for Nintendo and ultimately encouraged Nintendo to look into opportunities to launch third-party apps. Nintendo realized that fans who are iPhone and Android users would be thrilled to be able to play games based on Nintendo properties and that Nintendo apps would broaden their audience.
In December of 2016, Super Mario Run was launched exclusively on Apple’s App Store until an Android version was announced for a spring 2017 release. Mario Run became not only a massive hit and pleased a lot of fans, but it became the fastest growing app in the App Store’s history.
It was only a matter of time until Nintendo dropped another Mario based game on iOS and Android platforms with Super Mario Run. With the multi-decade success and belovedness of Mario Kart, it was undoubtedly a great candidate and made sense. A mobile version of Mario Kart was bound to gain significant publicity and attract a wide audience.
“It’s a smart move, makes its really accessible and builds up marketing,” said Angelo Guarino, sophomore political science major.
“It definitely was a smart move to go mobile with a game that has been so popular for a very long time,” said Ray Mohler, senior entrepreneurship major. “Being able to play a game on a device people use everyday will only grow the game’s popularity.”
According to CNN, Mario Kart Tour has had a tremendous start and was downloaded over 90 million times within its first week alone on iOS and Android devices. While the game is free to download, desirable characters, tracks, and rewards can only be accessed through purchases or monthly subscriptions. For example, to play as Mario, gamers must pay an astounding $20.
Mario Kart Tour, beyond its expensive offerings, will continue to have tremendous success on iOS and Android devices. Nintendo’s recent offering in third party gaming will not only grow a wider fan base of all ages, but will help modernize the legendary game company.
As CNET, a recognized technology focused media company, puts it, “what a time to be alive.”
Maybe even one day, Zelda and Donkey Kong will make an appearance on iOS and Android. The future for Nintendo will undoubtedly be exciting, and MarioKart Tour is a great step forward.
Michael Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org