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Mario Kart Tour drifts into record-breaking launch day for Nintendo

Mario Kart Tour, the recently released free-to-play mobile version of the racing series, broke records for Nintendo, with launch day downloads surpassing even that of worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go.

In its first day, Mario Kart Tour was downloaded 10.1 million times globally, breaking the mobile game record of 6.7 million downloads previously held by Pokémon Go, according to Apptopia. Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence, meanwhile, places the racing app’s launch day downloads at more than 20 million, nearly triple that of Super Mario Run‘s 7.0 million downloads when it launched for the iOS.

While there is a discrepancy in the figures of Apptopia and Sensor Tower, the shared conclusion is that Mario Kart Tour is Nintendo’s biggest launch on mobile so far, sending blue shells into the competition.

Apptopia said that “marketing, pre-orders, and IP” were the driving forces behind Mario Kart Tour‘s launch day success. The title was highly promoted in the app stores, and users who pre-ordered it with automatic downloads activated were ready to play almost as soon as the game was released.

Of course, not to be discounted is the fact that Mario Kart is among Nintendo’s most popular franchises, with the last installment released more than two years ago – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, which is an upgraded version of the original title for the Nintendo Wii U.

Mario Kart Tour, however, only ranked third among Nintendo’s mobile games in terms of launch day revenue, according to Sensor Tower. The racing app earned about $1 million in its first 24 hours, compared to $4.3 million for Fire Emblem Heroes and about $4 million for Super Mario Run.

The slower start for Mario Kart Tour‘s revenue may be attributed to the game’s monetization structure. In addition to in-app purchases for characters, karts, and loot boxes, players may also subscribe to a Gold Pass for $5 per month. The Gold Pass unlocks extra gifts for racing in tours, special badges from completing challenges, and most importantly, the 200cc tier, which is the fastest that the game will go.

The Gold Pass, however, offers a free two-week trial. It is the game’s most popular in-app purchase, according to Sensor Tower, but the subscription revenue will only start flowing in after the trial period.

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