Mario Kart Tour released today on iOS and Android devices. The game is completely free to play like most other Nintendo mobile titles, but this one has a monetization model that is upsetting some players. On top of gacha elements where players can acquire racers and karts through random rolls, Mario Kart Tour also features a “Gold Pass” subscription which includes bonus in-game rewards as well as access to the 200cc mode, an extra fast racing speed first introduced in Mario Kart 8.
The Gold Pass isn’t a one-time purchase, but rather a monthly subscription. After a two week free trial, you’ll have to pay $5 every month to be able to access 200cc as well as the extra rewards. The problem with the Gold Pass isn’t the product itself, but the pricing. Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions are $4 a month, granting players not just access to online multiplayer on Nintendo Switch, but also access to a vault of NES and SNES games.
Mario Kart Tour‘s monetization doesn’t even compare favorably to other players in the mobile market. The Gold Pass is priced the same as the recently released Apple Arcade, which offers a huge library of quality mobile titles free of microtransactions. If you’re on Android, it costs the same as a Google Play Pass subscription (which includes 350 apps and games!), but it’s actually even more expensive than the Play Pass right now because you can subscribe for $2 per month for the first 12 months. The Gold Pass is just one example of egregious pricing in mobile games, but with more recent developments and other subscription services being made available for mobile players, the whole thing just feels out of touch.
Mario Kart Tour is available now on iOS and Android devices. You can play the game for free, but if you want access to the 200cc mode, you’ll have to subscribe to the Gold Pass.