Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour launched yesterday, racking up 10.1 million downloads globally. This is record breaking for mobile game launches. On their launches, Super Mario Run (iOS only launch) generated 4.7 million downloads and Pokémon GO (previous record holder) did about 6.7 million downloads. Take a look:

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What went into these massive numbers? Marketing, pre-orders and IP. Mario himself is one of the most well known and well liked IPs in the world. Tapping that vein just a little more, Mario Kart is the company’s most successful franchise and it’s super fun to play with friends, people of all ages and backgrounds can get down with some Mario Kart. Additionally, the game was highly promoted and marketed (with Apple's help) leading up to launch. If you pre-ordered the game and you did not have auto downloads turned off, you woke up with the game already loaded onto your phone (it came out at 4am ET yesterday). This helps grow those download numbers with ease on launch day. 

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It’s important to call out that for big launches like this, the first day of downloads is usually not the largest. The biggest day for a big game launch is typically on day 2, 3, 4 or 5. Why? Likely through word of mouth, people seeing it on their app stores and the inevitable news cycle that comes with a big launch. The same goes for in-app purchase revenue but add in the fact that there needs to be some playtime time accumulated before users are willing to pay up.

The one downside to MKT's launch is the requirement that all players have a Nintendo account. Surely this user data will be valuable information for Nintendo to have but it's a massive barrier to entry for mobile games in general. Before you can even get to a home screen, you are required to be signed in to your Nintendo account. If you do not already have one, you need to make one and unfortunately it is not as quick of a process as one would like. 

Impressively, Mario Kart Tour has hit the #1 Overall rank in the iOS App Store in 93 countries. The game has a 4.7 rating on iOS and a 4.3 rating on Google Play.

How does it monetize? Here’s the quick and dirty:

- Ads? No

- In-app purchases? Yes - purchase characters, karts, gliders, loot boxes, etc.

- Subscriptions? Yes - A $4.99/month Gold Pass (free two week trial) which unlocks the extra-fast 200cc mode, obtain additional in-game rewards from racing and gain access to bonus goals exclusive to Gold Pass holders

Before I end this post, I wanted to call out that Super Mario Run was boosted significantly from this launch. Searching any phrase with the word “mario” in it brings up Super Mario Run. The game was installed 200k times yesterday, 36% above its daily average over the past 30 days.

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AuthorAdam Blacker

VP, Insights