Nintendo's Highly Anticipated Mario Kart Mobile Game Delayed

Mario Kart
When it comes to smartphones and tablets, Nintendo has a relatively small footprint in mobile, with only a few titles under its belt. That's part of why it was so exciting when Nintendo announced a year ago that it would be releasing Mario Kart Tour to smartphones by March 2019. It's been a long wait for fans who have been eagerly anticipating the title, and unfortunately, they're going to have to wait a little bit longer.

The good news is that Mario Kart Tour is still bound for smartphones, and barring another delay, it's still slated to ship in 2019. However, Nintendo is now anticipating a summer release. The extra time will be used to improve the quality of the game.

"In the smart device business, Mario Kart Tour was scheduled to be released this fiscal year, but in order to improve quality of the application and expand the content offerings after launch, the release date has been moved to summer 2019," Nintendo stated in its most recent earnings report. "As we endeavor to develop future planned applications, we will also focus on continued service operations for applications that have already been released to that consumers can enjoy playing them for a long time."

Nintendo's comments seem to suggest that DLC will figure into the equation, which is not a shocker—practically every mobile game these days relies on in-app purchases and supplementary content. It's worth reminding, though, that Nintendo took the opposite approach with Super Mario Run. Nintendo released a demo of the game, and then charged $9.99 for the full app, rather than make it a free (or cheap) title with a bunch of in-game purchases.

It's not clear which direction Nintendo will go with Super Mario Kart. The company could charge a flat fee and continue to support it with future updates, or it could charge for downloadable content, such as new racers and tracks. We'll just have to wait and see.

We also should not overlook Nintendo's comment about quality control. Just last week, Nintendo announced that it hit the reset button on Metroid Prime 4, essentially trashing all current progress on the game's development. Nintendo handed the reins to Retro Studios in the United States, which is starting over from scratch.

"Although this is very regrettable, we must let you know that the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series," Nintendo's senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi said. "We have determined that the current development status of the game is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team."

"We have decided to have the producer, Kensuke Tanabe, work in trust and collaboration with the studio that developed the original Metroid Prime series, Retro Studios in the United States, and restart development from the beginning," Takahashi added.

It doesn't appear that Mario Kart Tour is in the same shape of disarray as Metroid Prime 4 was, but the bigger point is that Nintendo is highly critical of quality standards, and rightfully so—Nintendo has way more many good games under its belt than bad ones.

Mario Kart is an especially valued franchise. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the top-selling first-party title on the Switch, with Nintendo saying it has sold 15.02 million copies to date. That puts it front of Super Mario Odyssey (13.76 million units) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (11.68 million unis), and every other first-party game, though we suspect Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (12.08 million units) will eventually claim the top spot.