In the early hours of this morning, Nintendo gave us the first Direct of the year. It was a really good one (particularly if you’re an RPG fan) but also if, like me, you’re looking forward to games like Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Splatoon 3, Switch Sports and Mario Strikers Battle League (not to mention Portal 1+2 and The Force Unleashed). However, for those of you that know me – you’ll know I’m a huge Mario Kart fan – and so the biggest announcement for me was Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass DLC. At first, I was simply excited to be getting more Mario Kart. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised what a strategic move this was from Nintendo.
Before we get to why… let me get everyone on the same page. The Booster Course Pass will consist of “48 remastered courses from across the Mario Kart series” (including even Mario Kart Tour). These 48 tracks will be released over a series of six waves (eight tracks per wave) ending in 2023. The first wave will launch on the 18th of March and will include two four-track cups: Golden Dash Cup (Paris Promenade: Mario Kart Tour, Toad Circuit: Mario Kart 7, Choco Mountain: Mario Kart 64, Coconut Mall: Mario Kart Wii) and Lucky Cat Cup (Tokyo Blur: Mario Kart Tour, Shroom Ridge: Mario Kart DS, Sky Garden: Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Ninja Hideaway: Mario Kart Tour). Purchasing the Pass will set you back R450.00… Unless you have a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription which will grant access to all the content for FREE. Now, let me explain why I think this is so clever…
Booster Course Pass – A strategic masterstroke?
Consider that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe currently features 48 tracks. So, that means the Pass will double the amount of content. Seen like that, R450 is arguably a pretty good deal. Even for people that were hoping for a full new Mario Kart game with a new ‘spin’ on the Mario Kart formula, considering that you would’ve had to pay around R1129 for a new title and there is a huge new roster to look forward to for less than half of that price – it’s not a bad compromise. However, the masterstroke is including it free with the Expansion Pack. Nintendo obviously wants to boost their Online subscription service attach rates and this no doubt has a huge chance to do this. Why?
Well, as per recent sales figures, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is already owned by more than 40% of current Switch owners. It’s literally the biggest game on the Switch. Some players have been itching for more Mario Kart for several YEARS. Of those, there’s probably a significant number that are currently not Switch Online Expansion Pass subscribers. Now, they could simply purchase the DLC for the ‘relatively’ cheap price of R450. However, I suspect signing up to the Expansion Pass now suddenly seems a lot more attractive. Yes, it is a yearly rate of R629. But, if you were planning on getting the DLC anyway – considering you’d basically be getting the NES, SNES and Genesis libraries plus Happy Home Paradise for only an extra R179 – the deal suddenly seems a lot more intriguing. Plus, consider that if you sign up for the Family membership (R1129.00) you can divide that by 8 friends and family meaning you’ll theoretically only have to pay around R140 per year for EVERYTHING (basically a new Mario Kart game and all the Online perks and libraries). I suspect that will have most people very interested. And for the 60% of Switch owners that don’t own Mario Kart yet, well, Nintendo also currently has a 33% off sale on the base Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game (R752.70). I suspect they will now be extra tempted not only to buy the base game for the cheaper sale price but possibly also sign up for the Expansion Pass subscription too – especially as each subsequent Wave is released and hype increases.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will continue to sell and the Expansion Pass that got quite a bit of flack when it first launched – now has a Mario Kart-shaped figurehead to make it way more appealing. It’s a win-win for Nintendo and (hopefully) for us fans too.