New details have emerged concerning the structure of Mario Kart Tour, the newest mobile game from Nintendo. According to tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki’s tweet, the mobile app structure will be “free-to-start.” This comes from DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu.
DeNA CEO said “Mario Kart Tour,” a Nintendo-DeNA smartphone game planned for FY18, will be free-to-start.
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) February 8, 2018
We now know that Nintendo is fine with providing free-t0-play games that include micro-transactions, as is the case with their Fire Emblem Mobile and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. It’s not necessary to pay for content in either title, but it does give players more options on content non-essential to the actual game. It’s interesting to note, though, that before Nintendo started releasing mobile games, president Satoru Iwata had specific thoughts on the term.
In an interview with Time, Iwata said, “I do not like to use the term ‘Free-to-play’…[I] realize that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called ‘Free-to-play’ should be referred to more accurately as ‘Free-to-start.’” This would correlate with the specific wording used here, and maybe is intended to be open with players regarding the new game payment structure. Additionally, according to Twitter user Oscar Lemaire, Super Mario Run is the only mobile game released to not include the term “free-to-start” in its promotional materials:
Super Mario Run is literally the only game where Nintendo has not used the term “free-to-start” in its communication and where it does not appear on the official website, unlike the others. pic.twitter.com/R361d8YilE
— Oscar Lemaire (@oscarlemaire) February 8, 2018
DeNA is Nintendo’s partner in the mobile game business, and Mario Kart Tour is scheduled to launch sometime before March 2019.