Nintendo’s first ‘Mario Kart’ game for smartphones has been delayed to the summer

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Nintendo

  • Nintendo’s first “Mario Kart” game for smartphones is in development.
  • The game, named “Mario Kart Tour,” was expected to arrive by the end of March.
  • Now, Nintendo says it won’t arrive until some point in the summer.

“Mario Kart” has been a big deal for over 25 years. And now – finally– it’s coming to smartphones.

The game is “Mario Kart Tour,” and it’s now scheduled to arrive at some point this summer, Nintendo’s Twitter account announced Wednesday. The game was previously scheduled to arrive by the end of March.

Nintendo attributed the delay to “Mario Kart Tour” not living up to its quality standards, as well as an interest in expanding the game’s postlaunch strategy.

So, what is “Mario Kart Tour”? That remains to be seen – Nintendo has yet to show anything beyond the logo seen above.

An image from

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An image from “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” on the Nintendo Switch.
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Nintendo

You can tell from the naming convention that “Mario Kart Tour” is its own thing, separate from the main thread of “Mario Kart” games that have come out on Nintendo consoles exclusively. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” is the most recent entry in the main series. “Mario Kart Tour” is expected to be a side game, like “Mario Kart Arcade GP.”

That the game isn’t a numbered entry isn’t the only indication that it’s a spin-off – the fact that it’s for a smartphone, not one of Nintendo’s consoles, is another big indicator.

Nintendo’s approach to smartphone gaming has been focused on crafting its franchises specifically for the platform, rather than trying to force its console games onto a mobile device. This results in spin-off games with controls and gameplay mechanics that make sense only on smartphones and other touch-based devices.

“Super Mario Run” is a prime example of this philosophy:

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“Super Mario Run,” the first smartphone game from Nintendo to feature Mario, was custom-built for smartphones.
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Nintendo

“Mario Kart Tour” was revealed last year during an investor presentation by Nintendo’s president at the time, Tatsumi Kimishima.

Here’s the full announcement:

“We plan to release a smart-device application from the ‘Mario Kart’ franchise, ‘Mario Kart Tour,’ during the next financial year (from April 2018 to March 2019). We will announce further details at a later date.”

Not that thrilling! Nintendo’s American Twitter account had a slightly more exciting take at the time:

“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.”

There was an image of a logo included, and that’s it. As of early Thursday morning, “Mario Kart Tour” has a new release window: summer 2019.