Yesterday, September 25, marked the fourth anniversary of Mario Kart Tour, but celebrations are somewhat tainted by news that the next update will add the final wave of new content to the game.
After October’s Battle Tour, "no new courses, drivers, karts, or gliders will be added" and any future updates will simply repeat prior content. Essentially, this means the beginning of the end for Mario Kart Tour, though Nintendo hopes players will "continue to enjoy playing" old content.
Of Nintendo’s mobile games, Mario Kart Tour has frequented the top three in terms of revenue, often racing against Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp whilst watching Fire Emblem Heroes zooming ahead. Tour started strong with $100 million in revenue after six months but took until 2021 to surpass the $200 million milestone with just as many downloads.
A year later, the game underwent an unprecedented change in a complete overhaul of its primary monetisation method, removing gacha mechanics on October 4 2022. This meant that instead of relying on random chance for new characters and limited-time karts, players could (and still can) buy them outright using in-game currency: No more running the roulette.
With four years of new content now coming to an end, the popularity of Tour is sure to wane. But its impact on the Mario Kart franchise has been noteworthy - as even outside of its own revenue, Tour has directly influenced Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s DLC on Nintendo Switch, with many tracks lifted from the mobile title. It certainly put into practice Nintendo’s mission to use mobile as a tool more than a revenue source.
The final character to join the Tour roster is Gold Mario, a fitting way to celebrate in glamour, glitter and, well, gold.
With Mario Kart Tour seemingly on its way out, could this open up space for a new Mario on mobile?