As we learned last week, Nintendo is partnering with DeNA to deliver Mario Kart Tour to mobile devices. That's great news for long-time fans like me who have been drifting around corners and tossing green shells for years. But how much is this new Mario Kart mobile game going to cost us?

While the exact details of the game have not yet been announced, the DeNA CEO has indicated that the smartphone game will at least be "free-to-start." This follows in much the same footsteps as the other DeNA-Nintendo mobile games that have been released to date.

You might recall that DeNA is the company responsible for delivering all of Nintendo's mobile titles thus far. Miitomo was free-to-play with optional in-game currency. Super Mario Run gave you the first few levels for free, before giving you the option to buy the rest of the game for a one-time price.

More recently, both Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp are monetized via microtransactions. In this way, all of these games have been "free to start" but they've got about it in slightly different ways.

So, what does this mean for Mario Kart Tour? We're not sure. It's possible that they could give us the first cup and a handful of characters of free, and then we'd be offered the opportunity to buy everything else for a one-time fee a la Super Mario Run, but I find that doubtful at this point. From what I hear, Super Mario Run was popular but not especially profitable for Nintendo.


Given this, the microtransaction route seems more likely. You can grind it out to unlock more characters and tracks... or you can buy them individually as DLC. Or maybe they'll have bundles too. Considering that the Switch is still selling like hotcakes, re-invigorating the Nintendo bug in mobile users could keep that positive trend going for the company too.

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