Nintendo has announced the forthcoming Mario Kart Tour multiplayer beta will require iOS and Android users to subscribe to the premium Gold Pass.
Since the launch in September, the mobile version of the game has been missing what decades of Mario Kart players would attest is one of the most important features – the ability to race against friends and foes in-person and online.
However, while that will be rectified next month with the launch of the multiplayer beta, eager Karters are going to have to fork over for the $4.99 a month service in order to participate.
It’s not yet clear whether the multiplayer feature will remain behind the paywall once it is launched out of the beta, but that appears to be where this is heading.
Currently the Gold Pass unlocks the fastest 200cc mode, offers in-game badges from Gold Challenges and nets Gold Gifts for players racing in tours. That’s not really much for a fiver, so adding multiplayer to the package would certainly increase the value proposition.
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Seeing as the game is free to start with optional in-game purchases available (the micro-transactions are probably a little too heavy), iOS and Android gamers probably can’t complain too much if there’s a fee involved for this future.
Nintendo isn’t saying at the moment, neither is it promising a launch date for the beta, but it does promise more details are coming in the near future. For those unwilling to fork over cash to participate in the beta, new subscribers get a two-week trial of Gold Pass.
The long-delayed Mario Kart Tour brought the iconic racing franchise to smartphones and tablets for the first time. It features scaled-back touchscreen friendly controls and, like Super Mario Run, can be controlled with just one hand.
The launch is arguably the most important mobile release yet for Nintendo, as it looks to cash in on its its hottest properties. The company is currently riding the crest of a wave, with news Nintendo Switch sales are up 50% on last year.