Nintendo sued over Mario Kart Tour's "immoral" microtransactions

Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!?

22 May 2023
by rawmeatcowboy 5
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Nintendo is no stranger to lawsuits, and they’ve got yet another one coming their way. This time around, the focus is on one of Nintendo’s mobile releases.

As you no doubt know, Mario Kart Tour involves microtransactions for a number of features. They’re not necessary to play and enjoy the game, but many feel compelled to dive in in order to get the content they want. This mechanic has caused one young gamer and his father to file a lawsuit against Nintendo over the game’s “immoral” microtransactions.

This lawsuit alleges that Mario Kart Tour uses “dark patterns” to trick consumers into spending money. The “dark patterns” term is one that has been popping up a ton lately, as countless games and game developers/publishers have been accused of using the same tactics for monetary gain.

The father of the plaintiff in this case found that their son racked up $170 in Mario Kart Tour microtransactions. As you might have guessed, the father didn’t approve any of these purchases and only found out about them when the bill came through.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against numerous companies, and as far as we can tell, all of them have ended in victories for the companies. We’ll keep an eye on this one to see how it turns out for Nintendo.

[Axios]

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Comments (5)

jake_a

1y ago

I'm not entirely familiar with how micro transactions work in Mario Kart Tour but I'm generally not a fan of them in mobile games.

Mario Kart is a game that appeals to a wide audience and kids are included in that. Kids shouldn't be exposed to this sort of business practice.

That being said, parents do need to take responsibility and make sure that their children can't make purchases for without their permission.

I also realize these stories are probably uncommon when you look at the big picture. They just tend to make news when they happen so I assume that most parents are responsiblem


hawk

1y ago

I only played Mario Kart Tour for about a month because the monetization was so awful. There wasn't a fun enough game in there to counteract it. But the nice thing is that it was easily possible to play the game without paying anything. It probably really would take an ignorant kid to rack up that kind of bill for his parents.

MKT is Nintendo dabbling in the worst of mobile gaming tactics to see if they work. I don't know if it's lawsuit-worthy, but if the takeaway is not to make games this way anymore, I hope it's a lesson Nintendo learns.


tendonin

1y ago

Some interesting context in the article:
“Nintendo discontinued use of spotlight pipes in Mario Kart Tour last September, switching to a system that lets players directly purchase items offered in its in-game shop.”

Yet the suit was initially filed in March? As in, 2023? Also, it’s apparently a firm that’s tackled similar free-to-play lawsuits. Not that there’s no possible merit to the case, but there’s definitely a sense of throwing things at the wall to see what sticks when it comes to getting these practices under control. Just another case where the courts are stuck filling in for legislators who are dragging their feet.


kingbroly

1y ago

Nintendo ends gambling, then gets sued for it. What a world. /s


joshua220

12M ago

The accusations in the lawsuit aren't even true. The suit claims that the game doesn't share the odds of pulling items from the loot boxes (pipes in-game). This is untrue, as someone who has played MKT for years I know that the pipe has always shown the odds of pulling items, and even updated the odds as you pull so you can see what chance you have of pulling the spotlighted item. The old way pipes worked was if you pulled 100 times you were garunteed to get the featured item.

This is all moot anyway, since the game removed paid random pipe pulls last year. By the time this lawsuit was filed, the only way to randomly pull items in the game is through rewards for completing challenges.