Mario Kart Tour’s Slippery Downward Slope

When Mario Kart Tour was first released, users were eager to experience the sensation of racing as their favorite Mario characters in a whole new way. As a result, the game was played all over the world and quickly became a fan-favorite right here at Whitman. However, after a few months, fewer people were playing the game, and the chatter surrounding it turned silent. So what exactly caused this game’s popularity to suddenly dwindle?


There are a few reasons as to why this happened. First, when the game was released, there weren’t any multiplayer opportunities. What made the main series games so enjoyable was that players did not just have to play against CPUs. Users could play with people all around the world on servers. When playing Mario Kart Tour, you’re not playing against real people; you’re playing against CPUs who have the same username as people who have downloaded the app, almost like it is trying to trick you into believing that you were actually playing multiplayer. To release a Mario Kart game and not give the option to play multiplayer yet is quite baffling, considering that multiplayer is a huge part of the previous games, the most notable being Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8.


Another key cause would be the monetization aspect of the game. Players can pay for microtransactions to get new features, whether that would be an in-game currency, new vehicle parts, or most of all, the gold pass which costs $4.99. Ziyad Choudry, a sophomore at Walt Whitman High School believes that the game’s store “seems like it was meant for players who used microtransactions.” He also goes on to state how the game did run move smoothly, and that “there was no real progression” through the levels. Some could defend Mario Kart Tour by saying that since it is a mobile game, microtransactions were inevitable and should have even been expected. Despite these expectations, the game seems to have been designed around purchasing new features and upgrades with real money, which is a problem considering the fact that it is a racing game. Progression should be built around racing.


Another possible reason why the popularity of game declined so rapidly was because users were accustomed to a certain physical playing style. When most people think of Nintendo, they typically tend to picture handheld consoles, such as 3DS, or home consoles such as the Nintendo Wii or the Nintendo Switch. When playing on mobile apps, the feel is just a bit off. Arguably, this makes it easy to understand why Mario Kart Tour, as well as previous mobile Nintendo games such as Super Mario Run, are not played nearly as much as video games on proper gaming systems.