Mario Kart Tour not available in Belgium due to loot boxes

What you need to know

  • Mario Kart Tour isn't available in Belgium.
  • That's because the game's loot boxes don't comply with Belgium Gambling Authority regulations.
  • The game is available for iOS and Android elsewhere around the world.

Mario Kart Tour recently launched on iOS and Android in several markets across the world, but Belgium wasn't one of them. That's because the game involves the use of loot boxes, which The Brussels Times reports do not comply with Belgium Gambling Authority regulations.

In the game, players can spend real money on loot boxes, which contain contents that are unknown to the player. This is associated with gambling, thus the game isn't available to download in the country. According to a report, Nintendo could be missing out on a potential 11.5 million players.

Mario Kart Tour has been at the center of controversy since its launch, with players voicing their frustrations with the game's microtransactions. In addition to loot boxes, Nintendo also walls off the fastest race mode behind a subscription that costs $4.99 a month. That's the same price as Apple Arcade, which features dozens of games with no sneaky microtransactions or ads.

Nintendo could make the game available in Belgium by taking microtransactions out, but that is unlikely to happen. When Nintendo released Super Mario Run, it was free to download but came with a one-time fee of $9.99 to unlock the whole game. Even with upwards of 200 million downloads, however, it didn't reach "an acceptable profit point," Nintendo said in 2017.

As a result, Nintendo has littered its lineup of mobile titles, including Dr. Mario World, with microtransactions rather than giving players the option to buy the game outright. Unfortunately, that's bad news for Nintendo fans in Belgium, because it means they can't play new titles like Mario Kart Tour.

Brandon Russell