Japanese video game company Nintendo released a new edition to its Mario series Sept. 25 in the form of a mobile online gaming app called “Mario Kart Tour.”
Forbes reports that the free-to-play app had a record-breaking 20 million first-day downloads. It surpassed the previous record of 6.7 million downloads made by “Pokémon Go.”
Ian Goforth, president of the UofM’s esports organization, said he was surprised when Nintendo announced the release.
“I always thought that Mario Kart was going to be exclusive to Nintendo systems,” Goforth said. “They’ve had apps for the phone before, but not for major franchises like this.”
The game is the 14th installment in Nintendo’s “Mario Kart” series. It is free on the Apple and Android stores, but players can unlock new content and characters through in-app purchasing. Nintendo also added premium content through a five-dollar subscription.
Goforth said while in-app purchases can be annoying, they are necessary.
“The philosophy is your game must be free, and if you didn’t have in-app purchases, then the company wouldn’t make any money,” Goforth said. “You’re either going to have a free game with in-app purchases or have a five-dollar game with no in-app purchases.”
Goforth said the app had not made much commotion among competitive gamers like those in the esports organization.
“We either follow major trends in gaming or esports,” Goforth said. “I haven’t seen Mario Kart become a trend yet, but it could.”
Goforth said he was personally impressed with the game and what it means for the future of mobile gaming.
“Previously, Nintendo consoles were expensive, and that meant that Nintendo titles were hard to get into,” Goforth said. “Now, if you have a phone, you can start playing immediately with your friends.”
The app has experienced a few hiccups despite its commercial success. Users experienced heavy server traffic when the game first launched, and many users reported glitches or no response from the app.
Goforth said glitches are a common occurrence with newly released mobile games.
“On launch day, it’s hard for the company to make sure the game works because this is their first time releasing it to a huge group of people,” Goforth said. “There’s going to be glitches because the more people that play their game, the harder it will be to run their systems.”
Critics are unsure if “Mario Kart Tour” has the staying power of previous installments, but Goforth said he believes it is sure to become a trend.
“I think it’s definitely something that everyone would try once because of Mario Kart’s huge legacy,” Goforth said.
UofM Lucas Pierce, a health science major, said he plays the game every day and does not have many complaints about it.
“It’s a simple game, but I have run into a couple of glitches,” Pierce said. “I don’t think the drifting works as well as it should.”
Thierno Sall, a computer engineering major, said he also experiences issues with drifting.
“I like that I can play with my friends, but I think it’s harder to play a game like this on a small screen,” Sall said.