Mobile Gamers Eager for Mario Kart will have to wait until Summer 2019
Mobile gamers eagerly anticipating the release of the adaptation of Nintendo’s best-selling Mario Kart series will be waiting at the starting line a bit longer, as the launch of Mario Kart Tour has been delayed until the Summer of 2019.
While Nintendo’s statement on the delay offered little insight outside of the fact that they are working to improve the quality of the product, it’s worth noting that Nintendo is relatively new to the mobile gaming space. The company’s current library is headlined by Super Mario Run, and also includes Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. However, while Nintendo has released limited information on the gameplay within the newest version of their popular series, the third-person, rear-view perspective that is a staple of the Mario Kart experience would offer far different development problems than any of these other titles. Therefore, the company’s previous experiences may not translate to this latest endeavor as much as they may have hoped.
Though fans would no doubt like to be playing today, the nostalgic appeal of the popular series likely ensures that Mario Kart Tour will draw significant interest once it hits App Stores. Since the debut of Super Mario Kart on SNES back in 1992, the racing game has been a staple for each of Nintendo’s platforms, with Mario Kart 8 releasing for Wii U in 2014 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launching for Nintendo Switch in 2017.
Mario Kart Tour offers interesting sales potential, given its appeal to those who have grown out of console gaming but load up their mobile phones for gaming. Reports suggest that Mario Kart Tour will be free to start, like Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, so special characters and courses may only be available via purchase. However, given the history of the series, once can expect that Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Wario will all make appearances. Likewise, favorite tracks such as Toad Turnpike, Wario Stadium, Bowser’s Castle, and Rainbow Road, which have been re-imagined through the various versions, seem likely to make appearances, not to mention those slippery bananas!
An interesting question is whether Mario Kart Tour will offer multi-player gaming, or if the experience will be restricted to solo adventures. Multi-player gaming would only heighten the appeal to older crowds; it doesn’t take much imagination to envision a group of twenty-somethings getting in a couple tracks while they’re taking an Uber to dinner together.
The success of adaptations of long-time favorites such as Pokemon GO in drawing in an adult demographic demonstrates the potential appeal of Mario Kart Tour, and ensuring that users have a positive first experience is critical in an age when so many alternatives are readily available. Though legendary Nintendo gamemaker Shigeru Miyamoto’s quote, “A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever”, may not be quite as relevant in the age of mobile updates, there’s no question that a bad initial product could cause the series to fall flat on its face despite the potential appeal. Hopefully for those waiting to fire off some red shells at their friends, the races in Mario Kart Tour are worth the wait.