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Mario Kart Tour Bursts off the Line to Become Nintendo’s Most Downloaded App in Its First Month

October 31, 2019, 5:03 PM UTC

Just one month after releasing Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo is already taking a victory lap.

According to a report released by Sensor Tower on Wednesday, the video game console maker’s newest mobile app has burst forth from the starting line with 124 million downloads in its first month, leaving the company’s previous mobile products in the dust. Of the six apps Nintendo has released since it launched social mobile app Miitomo in 2016, Mario Kart Tour is poised to be the company’s most successful mobile app to date.

Mario Kart Tour‘s download numbers were so good that the racing game even came close to matching how successful Pokémon GO was at launch. Pokémon GO (which actually falls under app-maker Niantic and not Nintendo despite Nintendo serving as Pokémon’s publisher) had 163 million downloads in its first 30 days and became a cultural phenomenon through the summer of 2016. Mario Kart Tour beat Pokémon GO‘s record for first-day downloads by a few million, but couldn’t sustain that great start to overtake the popular GPS-based mobile game.

Over the past three years, Nintendo has slowly built up its mobile repertoire with mixed results. None of its previous apps have come close to the early success Mario Kart Tour is seeing. Nintendo’s first app, Miitomo, shut down last year due to a lack of active users. Its next mobile venture, 2016’s Super Mario Run, was its second most successful, and that only had about 22 million downloads in its first month. Nintendo would later release Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Dragalia Lost, and Dr. Mario World, all of which have seen fewer than 20 million downloads in their first months. Mario Kart Tour, released by Nintendo in late September, brought the Japanese gaming giant’s kart-racing franchise to mobile, after years of exclusivity on the company’s hardware.

But Nintendo was also early to the mobile gaming trend allowing it to experiment with different monetization strategies. It seems like its efforts are finally paying off.

“Nintendo actually started moving into mobile long before a lot big players in the PC and console industries did. I remember at the time there was a lot of skepticism around that, especially from a lot of hardcore gamers,” Sensor Tower mobile analyst Katie Williams told Fortune. “Clearly, they were wrong. It’s working out very well for them.”

For comparison, PC and console staples like Call of Duty and Elder Scrolls only started investing in mobile releases recently with both franchises releasing gaming apps this year.

Despite the success of Mario Kart Tour, the app is not a big money-maker just yet. Sensor Tower estimates the app is only generating $0.26 per player. But Mario Kart Tour also launched with a subscription model—a new strategy for Nintendo’s gaming apps. For $5 a month, players can unlock in-game items, badges, and the fastest Mario Kart playing mode. Williams noted that it’s the most popular purchase on the app and that charges for the purchase aren’t immediate, suggesting Nintendo could see higher revenue figures in the future. “I can only see them making more and more money,” he says.

“They already have some of the most well-known properties in gaming,” Williams said. “I think Nintendo will continue spinning out games in these franchises.”

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