Mario Kart Tour Multiplayer Beta Test to Launch in December

Nintendo has announced that it will begin testing a multiplayer option for its Mario Kart Tour mobile game in December, a step towards the full multiplayer mode that's considered essential to the mobile title's success.

The announcement came on Friday via the Japanese video game giant's official Twitter account and explained that access to multiplayer would initially be limited to Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass subscribers.

Mario Kart Tour for iOS and Android devices currently lacks the option to race against friends, leaving it shorn of the vital game mechanic that has helped make it one of Nintendo's longest running franchises on console.


Nintendo's latest smartphone app was downloaded over 90 million times in its first week, according to Sensor Tower. The number eclipses both Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run, which were downloaded a respective 14.3 million times and just under 13 million times in their debut week, making Mario Kart Tour Nintendo's biggest mobile game launch to date.

Announced in January 2018, the game was delayed several times before its debut in September. The game's optional "Gold Pass" subscription introduces various in-game items and badges and also unlocks the faster 200cc mode. Nintendo is offering a two-week free trial, after which it costs $4.99 a month.

Mario Kart Tour is a free download from the App Store, requires iOS 10 or later to play, and officially supports iPhone 5s or iPad Air and later devices. A Nintendo Account is also required to play the game. [Direct Link]


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Mario Kart Tour is Nintendo’s Biggest Mobile Launch to Date With 90 Million Downloads in First Week

Nintendo's latest smartphone app Mario Kart Tour has been downloaded over 90 million times since it launched last week, according to new download estimates shared by Sensor Tower.


The number eclipses both Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run, which were downloaded a respective 14.3 million times and just under 13 million times in their debut week, making Mario Kart Tour Nintendo's biggest mobile game launch to date.

Breaking down the figure across platforms, the free-to-play game was downloaded 36.5 million times on iOS devices, while the Android version was downloaded 53.3 million times.

In terms of overall revenue driven by in-app purchases, Mario Kart Tour earned $12.7 million, so it hasn't reached the heights of Fire Emblem Heroes, which earned Nintendo $28.2 million in its first week. Super Mario Run meanwhile clocked up $16.1 million in its debut week, making Mario Kart Tour the company's third-biggest game.

Across platforms, $9.6 million (75.5 percent) was spent in-game by iOS device users, while Android IAPs amounted to $3.1 million (24.5 percent). Most spending occurred in the U.S. with $5.8 million, followed by Japan ($4 million) and France ($752,000).

Announced in January 2018, Mario Kart Tour was delayed several times before its debut last week. The game features an optional "Gold Pass" subscription, which introduces various in-game items and badges and also unlocks the faster 200cc mode. Nintendo is offering a two-week free trial, after which it costs $4.99 a month.

Mario Kart Tour is a free download from the App Store, requires iOS 10 or later to play, and officially supports iPhone 5s or iPad Air and later devices. A Nintendo Account is also required to play the game. [Direct Link]


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‘Mario Kart Tour’ Now Available for iPhone and iPad

Nintendo's newest game, Mario Kart Tour, got its global rollout today for iPhone and iPad, following a closed beta test in the United States and Japan.


The kart racer title for mobile is set in the Mushroom Kingdom, where players are tasked with racing to beat their rivals to the finish line using drifts and items to gain an edge. Players slide their fingers across the screen to turn, while tapping the screen unleashes stored items.


For the first two weeks the tour takes place in a New York City-styled course, with other locations being rotated in every couple of weeks. Track shave been taken from prior versions of Mario Kart, including Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Mario Kart 7. Nintendo has also included Grand Prix cups that offer a collection of tracks to race through.

Playable characters include Luigi, Toad, Shy Guy, Waluigi, Peach, Toadette, and others, and some characters are unlockable through in-app purchases. This is a freemium title that's free to download, which means Nintendo is monetizing it through in-game purchases.

The game also has an optional "Gold Pass" subscription, which introduces various in-game items and badges and also unlocks the faster 200cc mode. Nintendo is offering a two-week free trial, after which it costs $4.99 a month. The five-minute video embedded below explains how it all works.


Mario Kart is a free download from the App Store, requires iOS 10 or later to play, and officially supports iPhone 5s or iPad Air and later devices. A Nintendo Account is also required to play the game. [Direct Link]

Update: As of writing, the game's servers are currently experiencing heavy traffic and Nintendo is queueing login requests, so it might be a while yet before everyone can get racing.


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Nintendo’s ‘Mario Kart Tour’ Game for iOS Launching on September 25

Nintendo's newest game, Mario Kart Tour, is set to launch on iOS devices on September 25, the company announced on Twitter this afternoon.

Starting in May, Nintendo has offered a beta version of the game to a few limited users in the United States and Japan, but the title is nearly ready for a wider launch.


As with the console version of the game, Mario Kart Tour is a kart racer title set in the Mushroom Kingdom. Players are tasked with racing to beat their rivals to the finish line using drifts and items to gain an edge.

Based on reports from the beta, the game uses the same single-handed control scheme as Nintendo's first major iOS game, Super Mario Run. Players are able to swipe their thumb across the screen to control their kart while the kart accelerates on its own.

The default controls cause karts to drift around corners, but those who want more of a challenge or more control can activate manual mode. There are four levels of difficulty to choose from, and the game features the same soundtrack used in previous Mario Kart titles.

Tracks within the game were taken from prior versions of Mario Kart, including Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Mario Kart 7. Nintendo has also included Grand Prix cups that offer a collection of tracks to race through.

Playable characters include Luigi, Toad, Shy Guy, Waluigi, Peach, Toadette, and others, and some characters will be unlockable through in-app purchases. This is a freemium title that's free to download, which means Nintendo is monetizing it through in-game purchases.

Nintendo suggests players who are interested in the game follow the official Mario Kart Tour Twitter account as there's more info on gameplay to come ahead of launch. Pre-orders on the App Store are available starting today, with users able to get a notification when the game launches. [Direct Link]




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Nintendo’s Latest Mobile Game ‘Dr. Mario World’ Launches on iOS App Store

Nintendo has released its latest iOS game, Dr. Mario World, one day early. Players can head to the iOS App Store now [Direct Link] and download the game for free today in the United States and many other regions (via TouchArcade).


Dr. Mario World is a puzzle game that tasks players with matching capsules with viruses in order to clear every virus on the board. In addition to Mario, other well-known Nintendo characters that appear in the game include Peach, Bowser, Koopa Troopa, Goomba, and more.

Each character has specific skills related to eliminating the viruses, and players can assign each one to the doctor and assistant role to experiment with various character skill combinations. In total, Dr. Mario World has over 100 stages across a series of worlds, and Nintendo will update the game with new worlds, doctors, and more on a regular basis.


The game also supports a multiplayer feature that lets you play with friends and family around the world in a versus mode, or help one another out by sending and receiving hearts that you can use in single player mode.

Dr. Mario World is free to start, and includes optional in-game purchases [Direct Link].


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Nintendo’s Dr. Mario World Game Launching on iOS on July 10

Nintendo's newest mobile game, Dr. Mario World, is set to launch on iOS and Android devices on Wednesday, July 10, Nintendo announced on Twitter this evening.

First announced in January, Dr. Mario World is based on the 1990 puzzle game Dr. Mario that tasked players with arranging different colored pills as they fell from the top of the screen to clear them from the game board and eliminate viruses.


Nintendo has launched a website for Dr. Mario World, complete with videos on the gameplay. Like the original game, Dr. Mario World is a match three, where the goal is to clear viruses from the board by making matches.

Players need to eliminate all of the viruses before running out of a set number of capsules. Scoring is based on how many capsules are left at the end of a level. Nintendo says there will be five worlds at launch, with more to be added in the future.


Dr. Mario World is a freemium game and there will be in-app purchases that allow you to continue to play the game after your stamina diminishes (though it also refills over time). Diamonds can be purchased for adding more capsules, replenishing the aforementioned stamina meter, and purchasing items.


Dr. Mario can be pre-ordered via the iOS App Store starting today. [Direct Link]


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‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gameplay Revealed in New Images and Video Shared From Beta Players

Nintendo today kicked off the beta for its mobile game Mario Kart Tour, limited to Android in Japan and the United States. Thanks to players starting to get their hands on the game, we now have a video and a few screenshots of Mario Kart Tour that provide a good idea of what you can expect from the mobile version of Mario Kart (via iGeneration).

Images via iGeneration

Like the console versions of the franchise, Mario Kart Tour is a kart racer set in the Mushroom Kingdom, tasking players with surpassing their rivals by using drifts and items to gain an edge. Mario Kart Tour appears to use the same single-handed control scheme as Super Mario Run, allowing players to swipe with their thumb to control their karts (or choose motion controls), while the kart accelerates on its own.

Tracks are taken from previous iterations of Mario Kart, including the original Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Mario Kart 7. There are Grand Prix cups as well that contain a collection of tracks to race through, but each track only includes two laps (instead of the typical three lap structure of most Mario Kart races).


The game's default controls automatically cause karts to drift around corners, but anyone wanting more of a challenge can turn on manual mode. There are four levels of difficulty (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and 200cc) and the same soundtrack used in previous games in the franchise.

In screenshots, many of the expected Mario characters can also be seen as playable: Luigi, Toad, Shy Guy, Waluigi, Peach, Toadette, and more. According to some beta testers, character unlocks will be the big in-app purchase for the game, with some drivers considered "rare" and coming with advantages during races like having unique items and track-specific bonuses.


This is similar to other Nintendo mobile games, allowing players to download the game for free but encouraging in-app purchases to boost gameplay. Players in the beta can't buy anything at this time, however, so it's unclear what exactly will be for purchase when the final game launches.


As Mario Kart Tour gears up for a launch later in the summer, Nintendo has faced some issues for its current mobile titles in Belgium (via The Verge). Due to Belgium's recent laws that categorize video game loot boxes as gambling, Nintendo is shutting down Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes in Belgium effective August 27, 2019.


After that date it will be impossible to play and download these games in the country, and in the future any Nintendo games with similar earnings models will not be released in Belgium. The controversy over loot boxes in gaming has been escalating over the past few years, and given the worldwide success of Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo's decision to shut down the game completely in the country proves how big of an issue this is for Nintendo.

For Mario Kart Tour, the beta will last through June 4 on Android. The final release date for the game on iOS and Android will be sometime this summer.


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Nintendo Asks Developer Partners to Cut Back on In-App Purchases for Fear of Tarnishing the Brand

Nearly four years to the day since Nintendo announced it would be bringing its popular characters to iPhone and iPad, the company is now fearing how app-based microtransactions could be tarnishing its brand. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo is going so far as to ask its developer partners to "adjust" its games so that players don't spend too much on in-app purchases.


One Nintendo official reiterated that the company uses its smartphone games to entice players into purchasing full-fledged console titles. Now, according to the unnamed official, Nintendo is concerned that it could be criticized for being greedy in the smartphone gaming market, ultimately hurting the company across divisions.

As for individual games, Nintendo's plan is already affecting certain titles. Dragalia Lost developer CyberAgent slashed its fiscal year earnings forecast for the first time in 17 years, reportedly due in part to the game's underperformance. Although it has a lot of players downloading and interacting with the app, "revenue from each player has fallen short of projections," seemingly tied to Nintendo's new strategy.
“Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game,” one CyberAgent official said. “If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more.”
For DeNA, the original smartphone developer partner with Nintendo, the mobile gaming business is said to be in a "slump." Chief Executive Isao Moriyasu reported last month that many of the company's mobile games were struggling except for an original title it created alone called "Megido 72."

Nintendo's smartphone gaming business has definitely seen its ups and downs. The company started with the debut of Miitomo in March 2016, introducing a social game where players could interact with their friends, dress up a custom Mii, and play mini games. After a lukewarm-to-negative reaction from players, Miitomo was shut down two years later in May 2018.

In December 2016, Nintendo debuted Super Mario Run for iOS devices, its first smartphone game with a major IP attached to it, and the first (and as of now only) full-priced Nintendo app. Nintendo returned to free-to-play with Fire Emblem Heroes in February 2017 and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in November 2017.

Over the years, many reports have attempted to dissect the success of each Nintendo app, and the consensus appears to be that Super Mario Run's pay-once structure has paled in comparison to the ongoing success of the free-to-play titles. In particular, Fire Emblem Heroes has been frequently touted as Nintendo's most successful mobile game to date, breaking the $500 million player spending mark on its two year anniversary, despite being based on an IP that's not quite as well known as Mario.

Despite the success of the free-to-play model and the confirmation that the next Nintendo games -- Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour -- will be free-to-play, Nintendo has said that it prefers the payment structure of Super Mario Run to in-app purchases. Shigeru Miyamoto has echoed this week's report in the past, asking the gaming industry to stop "nickel-and-diming" players, and promising that Nintendo will continue pushing for pay-once mobile apps into the future.


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Nintendo’s ‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ Crosses $500M in Player Spending on Two-Year Anniversary

Further cementing its status as Nintendo's most successful mobile game to date, Fire Emblem Heroes has officially crossed the half-a-billion-dollar revenue mark, which it hit just after the two-year anniversary of its launch in early February 2017. The game's $500 million in player spending includes players on both iOS and Android (via Sensor Tower).


Fire Emblem Heroes is a free-to-play game that lets players spend real money inside the app once they download it. Most of Nintendo's apps have followed this structure, except Super Mario Run, which requires players to pay $9.99 to see the full game. In total, Fire Emblem Heroes has brought in "more than seven times the revenue" of Super Mario Run, and grossed more than twice the combined earnings of all of Nintendo's other mobile games, according to Sensor Tower.

To date these include Miitomo (now defunct), Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost. Released just last September, Dragalia Lost has already become Nintendo's second most lucrative mobile game, surpassing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run.


In terms of platforms for Fire Emblem Heroes, players on Google Play/Android accounted for the majority of spending at 54 percent, while the iOS App Store made up 46 percent of player spending. Most players are located in Japan, which accounted for 56 percent of the game's $500 million total, while the United States is the game's second largest market at 31 percent of player spending.

Despite Super Mario Run performing poorly in comparison to the free-to-play games, Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that Nintendo will "continue pushing" for pay-once mobile games over freemium experiences. One senior official at Nintendo called the F2P structure of Fire Emblem Heroes as "an outlier" in the grand scheme of Nintendo's mobile strategy, claiming that Nintendo "prefers" Super Mario Run's payment model.

Despite this, Nintendo's next two mobile game releases will be free-to-play: Mario Kart Tour will launch this summer and Dr. Mario World is set to release later in 2019.


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Nintendo’s Next Mobile Game Will Be ‘Dr. Mario World,’ Developed in Partnership With LINE

Nintendo today announced that its next iOS and Android release will be Dr. Mario World, an action puzzle game set to be released later in 2019. Nintendo will be partnering with messaging app LINE to develop the new title.

Little detail is available on the new game at this time, but Dr. Mario was a 1990 puzzle game that tasked players with rearranging different colored pills as they fall to clear them off of the game board and eliminate viruses.



The gameplay of the original title was similar to Tetris, and it should translate well to mobile devices.

Nintendo says that Dr. Mario World will be free to play with in-app purchases, with Nintendo aiming to release the game in “early summer 2019” in Japan, the United States, and dozens of other countries.

Dr. Mario World may be Nintendo’s first game of 2019, as its other title, Mario Kart Tour, won’t be coming out until the summer. It was originally scheduled to launch right around March.

Nintendo has released five mobile games thus far, four of which have been free-to-play and three of which have been highly successful. Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost are current free-to-play titles, while Miitomo, Nintendo’s first mobile game, is now defunct. Nintendo’s only paid app so far has been Super Mario Run.

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