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Mario Kart Tour Charges A Monthly Fee For Its Fastest Mode

It's bizarre enough living in a world with a free-to-play version of Mario Kart available on smartphones and tablets. To see that same game – Mario Kart Tour – charge a monthly subscription fee for the fastest available races? We're not sure there are words, but we'll try.

The monthly fee is for a perk called Gold Pass, which is available now inside the recently launched Mario Kart Tour. Having a Gold Pass helps you earn better rewards, which is sort of off-putting on its own. But the kicker is what Gold Pass unlocks for those who purchase it. The 200cc mode, which enables players to race faster karts, is open only to those who pony up $4.99 per month for the Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass.

As Forbes' Paul Tassi said, $5 is the same price as an Apple Arcade subscription, which could either speak to the way Nintendo is overvaluing its Gold Pass, or the way Apple has lowered the value of mobile games. At any rate, we're not concerned with the price so much as we are the fact that Nintendo is locking a mode of a game behind a monthly fee. It shows that, despite repeated attempts, Nintendo still doesn't really understand what it's doing in mobile, and doesn't understand what players are and aren't willing to pay for.

Plus, it just feels gross. Can you imagine the Nintendo of the 90s doing something like this? "Actually, you'll need to buy this special memory card in order to unlock 150cc in Mario Kart 64." We know it's a different time now, but still.

We'll have to take a wait and see approach as far as Mario Kart Tour is concerned. It's a little bit unbelievable that this Gold Pass was allowed out of the starting gate, but Nintendo has been willing to change the way it monetizes its mobile apps in the past, so there's a little bit of hope. Should anything change, we'll get you an update.