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22nd of February 2018

Technology



Mario Kart Tour Is 'Free to Start'

Mario Kart 8 DLC

Nintendo decided to finally embrace smartphone gaming back in 2016 when it released Super Mario Run. That game was free to download and play, but unlocking all the content required a payment. Then, more recently, we got Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which was also free, but generates revenue from players buying Leaf Tickets through microtransactions.

The next game Nintendo is set to release for smartphones is Mario Kart Tour, and it looks as though the free-to-play with microtransactions model will continue.

As Game Informer reports, Mario Kart Tour is being developed by Nintendo, but Japanese company DeNA—which specializes in mobile portals and e-commerce websites—will run the game once it's live.

DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu confirmed in a press release that Mario Kart Tour will be "free to start," which is Nintendo's preferred way of stating that something is free to play with microtransactions. No details about those microtransactions have been released, but it seems likely that content will be locked behind paywalls. Course and Cup unlocks seem the most likely paid content offerings, but Nintendo could also extend them to characters and karts. Also, just like Super Mario Run, don't expect to be able to play this game offline.

Mario Kart Tour has no confirmed release date yet, with Nintendo only stating it will be released before the end of March 2019. Regardless of how much content is locked away behind paywalls, it's sure to be another guaranteed hit for Nintendo on smartphones and a good reminder to gamers that buying a Switch unlocks access to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and none of the microtransactions.

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