Nintendo will be releasing a mobile app this month, but if you’ve been following the company’s statements about mobile devices, you’ll know not to expect too much. The app, Mario Kart TV, will be a companion utility for Mario Kart 8, but it will be less impressive than companion apps you see for Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation consoles.
For a long time now, the Xbox and PlayStation has add mobile apps that tie into their gaming ecosystems. Of late, however, these apps have gained the ability to turn into second screens for certain games, augmenting the gaming experience. Suffice it to say, Microsoft and Sony have embraced the mobile lifestyle and integrated it into their gaming platforms. In contrast, Nintendo has remained bullish about any venture into mobile, whether it be making games available on smartphones and tablets or even companion apps. After all, it would undermine the very core of the company’s business. But economics and plummeting profits is forcing Nintendo to get out of its comfort zone, even if only by a little.
And so it is dipping it toes ever so slightly into the mobile experience with Mario Kart TV, the companion mobile app for an upcoming Mario Kart 8 game for the Wii-U console. Mario Kart TV is pretty much your basic and bare game companion app. It is basically a mobile window into Nintendo’s online service, where players will be able to view rankings for the racing game. In addition, they will also be able to view gameplay videos of Mario Kart 8 made by players and uploaded to Nintendo’s cloud, ala Twitch TV. That’s basically all there is to it.
Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart TV is expected to launch May 30. The game itself might be interesting for fans of series, as it features new courses, including an anti-gravity track, and online competitions of up to 12 players, which is where the mobile app will come in. Mario Kart TV is hardly anything ground breaking, but for a stubborn company like Nintendo, it is definitely a good start.