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Nintendo’s Mario Kart mobile game finally getting real-time multiplayer

Proper online and local races arrive March 8

A photo of Mario Kart Tour’s loading screen on an iPhone X Photo: Michael McWhertor/Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Nintendo is bringing real-time multiplayer to Mario Kart Tour, the mobile version of the kart racing series that launched last September, on March 8 at 8 p.m. PT. Nintendo has been testing online multiplayer in Mario Kart Tour since December.

When Mario Kart Tour was first released, players could only battle against computer-controlled opponents, even if it looked like they were up against other human players. Nintendo has promised a real-time multiplayer update since launch, but it’s taken some time to get here.

Real-time online multiplayer in Tour will consist of standard races with an “ever-changing set of in-game rules,” Nintendo said in a news release. Those rules will change daily, and players can also race against friends or other players nearby and set their own game rules. Mario Kart Tour’s $4.99-per-month Gold Pass will also grant access to online Gold Races, which offer the fastest speeds. The multiplayer mode will support up to eight players.

Mario Kart Tour is available for Android and iOS devices from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The game is free-to-play. Nintendo has updated the game with new racers, new tracks, and new vehicles over the past six months.