Oh how the tables have turned: this time it’s Nintendo who’s been hit with a lawsuit, although instead of being about piracy and unlawful use of a product, it’s their “immoral” use of loot box mechanics and gacha-style systems in their mobile games that has gotten them in trouble. Specifically, it’s the “Spotlight Pipes” from Mario Kart Tour, which allows players to pay money for the opportunity of getting characters, kart parts, and more in-game items, that’s the main issue with one specific user.
Originally reported by Axios, the suit’s plaintiff (meaning the user in question who’s suing Nintendo) spent over $170 USD on Spotlight Pipes and other microtransactions inside of Mario Kart Tour, all while using their parent’s credit card without their knowledge or consent. Apart from surely getting in quite a bit of trouble with his parents because of this, they’re also alleging that Nintendo was intentionally railroading players to use the mechanic to be able to progress in the game. This practice is commonly known as a “dark pattern”, and has been made illegal in the states of Washington and California after the loot box discourse about them being gambling or not surged a couple of years ago.
Nintendo isn’t free from the Loot Box issue
This loot box mechanic has been present in Mario Kart Tour since its release back in 2019, although they’ve been heavily modified ever since. It used to be that the Spotlight Pipes also gave players the chance of getting upgrades which put them at an advantage when compared to players that didn’t spend real money on the game, but this was recently removed. An in-game store was set up in its place, with players now being able to directly purchase whatever they want. Still, the previous mechanic didn’t show what the odds of getting any specific item is, so users had no way of knowing whether they’ll get what they’re looking for or not.
This specific lawsuit is calling for refunds to all minors in the U.S. who paid for Spotlight Pipes in Mario Kart Tour. The ball is now on Nintendo’s court to see how they respond to these accusations.
Source | Axios