Nintendo’s mobile games are a bit weird. They either really bad, or they’re really exploitative. Mario Kart World Tour is no exception to that. Like all Nintendo mobile games, it sold itself on the IP it’s based on alone, and then Nintendo pretended it didn’t have the same micro-transaction trash as other mobile games.
Now, 6 months after it was released, Nintendo has finally added multiplayer. That means that for half a year, there was an official Mario Kart title out there that you couldn’t play with anyone else. The fact that it didn’t ship with this mode in the first place is a complete travesty.
The problems with Mario Kart World Tour started straight out of the gate. While it didn’t have multiplayer it did a good job of pretending it did have. More than that, they locked most of the interesting characters behind a huge paywall.
While all of this was going on, Nintendo did their classic thing of pretending that their microtransactions were somehow less exploitative than other mobile publishers. Presumably, they assume saying this enough will make it true.
Offering real multiplayer does actually fix one of those problems. Unfortunately, it fixes the less important one. Don’t get me wrong, a game like this shipping with fake multiplayer in the first place is a travesty. It just can’t hope to match microtransactions in its level of severity.
Frankly, Nintendo needs to drop its mobile gaming division off. It makes them plenty of money I suppose, but it’s almost certainly lost them a ton of respect. For the longest time, they were the company that wouldn’t take part in the shady business going on in the mobile market.
Over the past few years, we’ve had Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and it’s ‘premium subscription’ nonsense, and now we’ve got Mario Kart World Tour, exploiting gamers’ love for characters while providing a fake multiplayer that it took Nintendo 6 months to fix.
The really sad thing about Mario Kart World Tour is that it’s going to keep existing. It’s based on Mario, which means that it’s almost certainly making Nintendo money. As long as that is true, they’ll never stop supporting it.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.