It turns out that some may end up downloading a car after picking up Mario Kart 8 in Japan. Nintendo Japan has partnered with Mercedes-Benz in order to provide a free car DLC later this summer, Eurogamer has reported.
Here’s what the fictionalized Mercedes GLA looks like in cartoonish action:
In addition, Mercedes has released a commercial starring a muscle-bound Mario driving a Mercedes GLA, whipping around the desert before ultimately being conquered by a tiny goomba.
While I’m all for Nintendo providing free post-release content for Mario Kart 8, being in the form of paid sponsors with in-game playable content just doesn’t sit right with me. Mario is an iconic IP, likely the most well known around the world. Using his likeness to advertise a car, then to have people use the car as an advertisement in online play makes the whole situation put consumers as the vehicle for paid promotion. It’s supposed to be a video game, not a marketing tool! (Even if the commercial is kinda funny) What’s next, the Master Sword being replaced by Kumadori knives?
Hopefully, the car is the weakest performer in Mario Kart 8, or else it would give incentive for players to choose the sponsored advertised car over canonical game content. This isn’t what I hoped for when Nintendo said it would be licencing out its IP!
Mario Kart 8 free DLC is coming out in Japan this summer, while the game itself hits stores in North America starting tomorrow, May 30th.
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