Nintendo plans to release Mario Kart Tour, a "smart-device application" from the Mario Kart franchise, sometime before March 2019, Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo, told a gathering of investors in Japan earlier today. Despite the odd wording, it's most likely a game.
The news comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the release of Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes game (which Kimishima also calls an application). He says that Nintendo is working on a variety of future initiatives for users of Heroes to enjoy, including a special campaign celebrating the application’s anniversary.
Mario Kart Tour, which we know nothing else about yet, will be Nintendo's fifth smartphone game following the release of Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Heroes. While Nintendo recently announced that it is officially shutting down Miitomo on May 9th, the other games seem to be doing quite well.
Downloads for Super Mario Run, Kimishima says, hit 200 million in October and continue to increase. "We are maintaining a base of approximately 20 million monthly active users," he told investors. "This game helps to maximize the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP by providing a Mario game that a wide variety of users around the world can enjoy."
The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. pic.twitter.com/8GIyR7ZM4z— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018
And Animal Crossing, which was released in October, has attracted a high percentage of female players, according to Kimishima. "This title sparked interest among many female consumers to pick up this smart-device application," he said. "Through continuous updates to add game content and hold weekly events, we aim to create a service that consumers can play daily, and that simultaneously contributes financially."
While Nintendo is looking for smartphone games to make money for it, the chief goal is for the games to introduce the company's storied franchises and beloved characters to a broader demographic, with hopes of expanding Nintendo's player base.