Nintendo faces class action lawsuit over loot boxes in Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart Tour loot boxes

Nintendo, the Japanese video game company, could be facing a new class action lawsuit over its game, Mario Kart Tour. The lawsuit, filed by a guardian on behalf of their minor, seeks to force Nintendo to refund all loot box purchases made by minors since the game’s release in September 2019.

So, the lawsuit alleges that Nintendo uses “dark patterns” to steer players towards the frequent purchase of “Spotlight Pipes” – essentially loot boxes in Mario Kart Tour. These “dark patterns” are said to be addiction-enhancing elements of game design that minors are especially susceptible to. The experience of acquiring surprise rewards and the associated excitement of uncovering unexpected in-game items holds a strong appeal for minors and reinforces their desire to keep playing and keep getting rewards.

The Controversy Surrounding Loot Boxes in Mario Kart Tour and the Lawsuit Against Nintendo

The lawsuit essentially alleges the common concerns about the free-to-play/loot box system. Grinds are implemented in order to encourage players to spend real money on items in order to get ahead of the game, save time, or simply have additional content to play with. It should be noted that Spotlight Pipes were removed from Mario Kart Tour in the fall of 2022.

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Also, the game’s monetization system raised eyebrows at launch. It had high pricing and super-low draw rates. Despite this, the game continued to exist. It offers updates on a seasonal basis. New courses, racers, and other updates are available. It continues to operate quietly in the background.

In addition, the potential class action lawsuit against Nintendo is not the first of its kind. Loot boxes have been a contentious issue in the gaming industry for some time, with several countries and jurisdictions banning or restricting their use in games. In 2018, Belgium became the first country to declare loot boxes illegal, followed by the Netherlands and other countries.

Loot Boxes in Video Games: Nintendo Faces Class Action Lawsuit over Mario Kart Tour

The issue with loot boxes is that they are often marketed towards minors and can be considered a form of gambling. Players spend real money on an item without knowing exactly what they will receive. This creates a sense of uncertainty and excitement, similar to that experienced in traditional gambling, which can be addictive for some individuals.

Major game publishers faced criticism for loot boxes. Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard are among them. In 2021, Electronic Arts settled a lawsuit. The lawsuit was about loot boxes in FIFA games. Electronic Arts paid $10 million to settle it.

The potential lawsuit against Nintendo shows the need for greater regulation of the gaming industry. Loot boxes and in-game purchases need oversight. Loot boxes can monetize games. However, they should not target minors. They should not encourage addictive behavior.

The gaming industry is growing and evolving. Regulators and industry leaders must work together. Game developers need to design and market their games in a responsible and ethical manner. Taking into consideration the well-being of players.

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