Media & Services > Metaverse, Augmented and Virtual Reality Blog

Mario Brings AR to the Nintendo Switch

by David MacQueen | Sep 09, 2020

Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the almost absurdly popular Mario franchise, Nintendo will launch one of the most innovative AR games I've seen - Mario Kart Home Circuit.

Players race with actual physical toy karts around tracks they set up in their own home, with augmented reality providing all of the graphical flair you would expect in a conventional Mario Kart game. The image below (click to see it full size) gives a flavor of the experience, but still images don't do it justice - the Mario Kart Home Circuit product launch video is also worth a watch.

Mario Kart Home Ciruit

Nintendo has a strong tradition of innovation. Nintendo's "d-pad" controller design is the basis for most home console controllers today - and Nintendo was the first to incorporate shoulder buttons and haptic feedback (aka rumble packs) which are all standard features today. Later, the Wii motion controllers caused a revolution for input mechanisms in games. Nintendo was the first to launch VR back in 1995 with the Virtual Boy console (a flop at the time), and the first to launch AR on the Gameboy DS almost a decade ago (2011). More recently, of course, the AR game Pokémon GO has been a smash hit on mobile - Nintendo is a 32% shareholder of The Pokémon Company. This latest release continues that tradition of innovation.

Mario Kart Home Circuit will launch in October 2020. At $99, and a further $99 for each additional kart, a multiplayer experience will not come cheap. Nintendo will have at least one sale, to this author... for research purposes of course!
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