Mario Kart Tour Breaks Another Mobile Nintendo Record, But Still Lags Behind Others

Mario Kart Tour Breaks Another Mobile Nintendo Record, But Still Lags Behind Others

Lots of downloads, not so many purchases.

In its first week, Mario Kart Tour has become Nintendo's fastest launch of a mobile game by a wide margin of total downloads. That said, though many have been quick to download the globe-trotting, gacha infused take on Mushroom Kingdom motorsports, relatively few are spending money in the free-to-play game.

Analytics firm Sensor Tower reports that Mario Kart Tour crossed 90 million downloads across Android and iOS in the week since its launch on September 25. That's more than a six-fold increase over Nintendo's second best first week launch, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (14.3 million). On its release day, Mario Kart Tour beat the day one download record for iOS games set by Pokemon Go in 2016.

On the revenue front, however, Mario Kart Tour's first week lagged behind that of 2016's Super Mario Run and was lapped by Fire Emblem Heroes' 2017 launch. Despite being the less popular of the two franchises and only racking up 8.1 million downloads, Fire Emblem Heroes brought in $28.2 million USD to Mario Kart Tour's $12.7 million in the same span of time.

It's important to note Mario Kart Tour's performance relative to Fire Emblem Heroes because of Nintendo's past statements on free-to-play monetization. Shortly after the release of Super Mario Run, which locked the bulk of its levels behind a one-time $9.99 purchase, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said it "did not meet [the company's] expectations" yet preferred its model over the gacha mechanics of Fire Emblem Heroes. All the same, Nintendo hasn't gone for the one-time purchase model on mobile again since, and Mario Kart Tour launched with gacha mechanics on top of a $4.99 monthly subscription pass that unlocks the 200cc mode and other rewards.

Mario Kart Tour has certainly racked up enough downloads to warrant continued updates—multiplayer of some form will come in "a future update version"—but with early revenue from both Tour and Dr. Mario World falling significantly short of the records set by Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo may have reason to reevaluate its mobile monetization strategies yet again.

If you've got any burning questions about Mario Kart Tour that you can't answer by booting up the game yourself, head over to our guides section for information on how ranks work, tips for earning coins, and more.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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