Both Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are continuing its expansions into the mobile gaming market, with Pokemon Masters hitting iOS and Android later this week, followed by Mario Kart Tour next month. Japanese mobile game developer and publisher DeNA is involved with both titles, and sources close to the companies feel that The Pokemon Company more eagerly pursues microtransactions than Nintendo.
In a newswire report from Takashi Mochizuki of the Wall Street Journal, Mochizuki warns that investors in DeNA should not expect Mario Kart Tour to be a strong revenue driver. According to people familiar with Nintendo's strategy, Mochizuki writes, the company "doesn't like the idea of players shelling out on in-game purchases and isn't interested in making lots of money from a single smartphone game." Conversely, The Pokemon Company is described as "more willing to make money through the business."
On the Nintendo side, this echoes a previous report from March revealing that Nintendo was instructing its mobile game partners to scale back microtransactions. Last month with Dr. Mario World, our features editor Caty McCarthy didn't feel Nintendo was "hugely annoying" with the game's microtransactions. Meanwhile, our hands-on preview coverage points to Pokemon Masters as The Pokemon Company's answer to Fire Emblem Heroes, an example of a mobile game that Nintendo certainly didn't shy away from monetizing with random gacha mechanics.
Both Mario Kart Tour and Pokemon Masters could still be designed to gate plenty of content behind in-app purchases. Mario Kart Tour features numerous drivers and go-karts, while Pokemon Masters revolves around collecting famous trainer and Pokemon pairs.
It won't be long until we see just how "free-to-start" both games turn out to be. In addition to our guide we'll have more on Pokemon Masters when it launches for iOS and Android on August 27, and you can watch the trailer for Mario Kart Tour, which is hitting iOS and Android on September 25, right here.