Prime those peels and steady your shells—Mario Kart Tour, the free-to-start iOS and Android version that Nintendo released last September, is going to receive its long awaited multiplayer update on Sunday, March 8.
It'll allow for 8-player casual races with friends and others nearby on top of two other types of online play: standard ranked play and premium "gold races" available only to those who have a gold-tier subscription.
A Gold Pass in Mario Kart Tour will set you back $4.99 USD per month, and it's also what unlocks gold gifts, a selection of special badges, and 200cc solo races. When you start Mario Kart Tour, you can sign up for a two-week trial that automatically converts to a paid Gold Pass subscription unless canceled.
Mario Kart Tour also folds in some gacha mechanics by way of its premium currency, Rubies. You'll earn them faster if you subscribe to the Gold Pass, but they can also be purchased outright starting with $1.99 3-packs.
Many were put off by Tour's lack of multiplayer, premium subscription pass, and gacha model when it launched last year, but in the months since its debut it has managed to bring in over $86 million. In late January, app analysis firm Sensor Tower reported that Nintendo's lifetime mobile game revenue had crossed $1 billion. Fire Emblem Heroes is far and away the top earner with over $656 million in revenue since its launch in early 2017. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Dragalia Lost came in second and third with over $100 million each, followed by Mario Kart Tour, Super Mario Run ($76 million), and last year's Dr. Mario World ($4.8 million).
While it's taken this long for Tour to get a proper multiplayer mode, the game hasn't gone without major updates since its launch. Nintendo has held over a dozen limited-time tour events since September, many of which have been themed around real world locations and holidays with tie-in courses. The tours also introduce new characters, gliders, and karts to the gacha pool.
If you're stunned by the numbers that Tour and especially Fire Emblem have put up, just remember that Pokemon Go has earned over $3 billion in revenue by itself since its 2016 launch. Maybe having multiplayer will bring more people to Mario Kart Tour, but it'll be eating Pokemon's dust for ages.