Mario Kart Tour's 'free-to-start' model might not mean what you think

Nintendo has been more liberal with the phrase following Super Mario Run's under-performance

Mario Kart Tour's 'free-to-start' model might not mean what you think

Japan-based mobile games developer DeNA has confirmed that it is developing Nintendo's upcoming mobile game Mario Kart Tour.

The developer did not provide any additional details in its financial releases about the game. It is expected to launch at some point during the company's FY18.

According to a tweet from The Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki, DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu said Mario Kart Tour will be "free-to-start". No further information was given.

Being free-to-start however might not mean what you think.


The last game to truly use the model from Nintendo and DeNA was Super Mario Run, which offered up a selection of free content with a $10 paywall to unlock the rest. Nintendo previously stated that its sales have not met expectations.

The "free-to-start" phrase was ditched for Fire Emblem Heroes, with key art instead referring to it as free-to-play. The game is estimated to have generated $100 million in revenue from just 10 million downloads.

While not a part of its marketing, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp does state that it is "free-to-start" when launched for the first time.

No official figures have been released relating to the game's performance, though it is estimated to have generated $30 million in revenue in its launch quarter.

Given Nintendo's wide-ranging use of the phrase, 'free-to-start' does not necessarily mean content will be hidden behind a paywall.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.