An unnamed young player has filed a lawsuit against Nintendo over “immoral” loot boxes that Mario Kart Tour once had. The mobile kart racing game came out in 2019, and in a year and a half, Mario Kart Tour has amassed 200 million downloads and generated roughly the same amount of lifetime revenue.
Despite its popularity, Mario Kart Tour features gacha microtransactions, a controversial feature for many gamers. Despite expectations for a mobile release, this seems like a particularly shocking decision from Nintendo, a gaming industry leader with reported annual revenue in the billions. The link between gacha, loot boxes, and gambling has long been debated, especially when it comes to the potential negative effects such mechanisms can have on children.
Originally filed in California state court on March 17, the complaint against Nintendo by an unnamed minor moved to federal court on May 17 and is threatening to become a class action. With the Guardian’s assistance, the complainant purposely brought up Mario Kart Tour’s “spotlight” loot box, offering players random in-game rewards in exchange for five rubies. According to the lawsuit, this amounted to “ranging from $2.60 to $3.32 for a single draw,” and the minor ended up having $170 charged to his father’s credit card while playing the game, mostly without permission.
Although Spotlight Pipe loot boxes were removed from Mario Kart Tour in September 2022, the lawsuit alleges that Nintendo failed to refund players money already spent on these items. According to the complaint, the company’s actions were “immoral, immoral, oppressive, immoral, and/or caused substantial harm to consumers.” It went on to refer to Responsibility Paradise’s “addictive behavior” as akin to gambling. profit.
When loot boxes were removed from the mobile racing game, it had already made nearly $300 million for Nintendo. In addition to the gacha mechanic, Mario Kart Tour also offers a monthly subscription service, which many have complained is overpriced compared to the cost of Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. Gold Pass, as the name suggests, provides subscribers with special in-game badges, exclusive car speeds, and other gifts.
But the lawsuit alleges that Mario Kart Tour intentionally required a lot of grinding, or in other words, “made the free version of the game so cumbersome and labor-intensive” for players who didn’t subscribe to the Gold Pass that subscribing Players wanting to significantly improve feel compelled to spend real money on rubies. The lawsuit seeks refunds under the statute of limitations for all minors in the United States who purchased “Spotlight Pipe” loot boxes in the game.
Mario Kart Tour is currently available on mobile devices.