Nintendo is facing a new lawsuit over its previous implementation of microtransactions in the mobile game. Mario Kart Tour.
Mario Kart Tour It was first released on iOS and Android in 2019 and used to have a loot box-like system where players could spend real money to activate Spotlight Pipes, which had unrevealed odds of awarding players with useful items and upgrades. Nintendo removed Spotlight Pipes from Mario Kart Tour in a September 2022 updatebut Axios reports that a new class action lawsuit has been filed against Nintendo for its prior implementation in the game.
The lawsuit calls the mobile game’s microtransactions “immoral” and is based on the belief that the game was intentionally difficult to progress without spending money. Its plaintiff believes that this “capitalized on and encouraged gambling-like addictive behaviors” in all players, specifically minors who would be interested in trying a gambling game. Mario Kart on mobile, and that they spent $170 on those microtransactions. As such, the lawsuit is seeking refunds from Nintendo to all minors who spent money on Spotlight Pipes when they were available on Mario Kart Tour.
The loot box style of microtransactions that used to be present in Mario Kart Tour it was quite common in many games with microtransactions. That said, it has fallen out of favor in recent years thanks to a increased scrutiny from regulators and lawsuits like this one that argue that the unrevealed odds attached to these systems are too similar to gambling. As such, microtransactions in many recent games tend to be more direct or actively reveal what players will get once they spend money.
Nintendo seemed to be aware of this when it removed Spotlight Pipes from Mario Kart Tour last year, but that was clearly not enough for this plaintiff. Nintendo hasn’t commented on this lawsuit, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on as it plays out.