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Mario Kart Tour Multiplayer Beta Locked Behind Paywall

Mario Kart has always been about destroying friendships and burning bridges. However, its mobile game spin-off Mario Kart Tour launched without any way to play with your soon-to-be enemies.

Limited Multiplayer Elements

Instead, the game allows you to go head-to-head with ghost drivers. In racing games, a ghost driver is a computer-controlled driver that recreates a real player’s driving style. In short, you kinda play against others, except with just their emotionless clones and not in real-time.

Another multiplayer aspect of the game is its leaderboards system. The races take place in tours, consisting of 16 cups with three racing courses and one challenge course each. Every week, one course out of the sixteen will be assigned as the week’s competitive cup.

The game tallies the points players accumulate within that cup against each other, forming a leaderboard of 20 players each. You get rewards at the end of each competitive week based on how well you performed against other players, and performing exceptionally well will make you progress through the twenty competitive tiers of Mario Kart Leaderboards.

Meanwhile, you could currently add friends in-game, but you can’t do anything together apart from comparing your scores for the current competitive cup with each other. This limited interaction has been the main criticism for Mario Kart Tour since the game hails from a series that produced multiplayer-centric gameplay.

Paid Multiplayer

Nintendo clearly wants to address this issue, but by doing so they might end up alienating a big part of their playerbase. In one tweet, Nintendo announced an upcoming real-time multiplayer beta planned for December. However, the beta will not be available for all players. Nintendo instead opted to make the beta testing a privilege awarded only to those who pay their monthly fee.

We don’t know whether or not the paid monthly subscription will be required once the multiplayer mode comes out of beta, but it would be remiss for Nintendo to hide multiplayer behind a paywall. After all, their gold subscription costs the same as Google’s Play Pass, Apple Arcade and Gameclub. The $4.99 price tag of their subscription service might be too steep a price for mobile gamers who just want to play with their friends.

Mario Kart Tour multiplayer definitely has to be accessible for all players, whether paid or not. After all, the game benefits more if all players are allowed to participate in online matches. Nintendo locking the game’s most important aspect behind a paywall would be like shooting themselves on the foot. It’ll drive players away from the platform and make matchmaking last too long.

Nintendo may be too confident with Mario Kart Tour’s success. After all, the game had over ten million downloads within its first weekend upon release. However, they stand to lose a big chunk of their 130 million downloads if they insist on making basic amenities hidden behind a paywall.