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Mario Kart 8 DLC Delivers, Fails On Price Parity

Published August 27, 2014 by |
Mario Kart 8 for Wii U - Link DLC

An untimely listing spotted on the Nintendo UK website Tuesday let slip details of planned downloadable content (DLC) for Wii U hit Mario Kart 8.

The webpage details how classic Nintendo character Link from The Legend of Zelda series will surprisingly be made available as a racer in one of two upcoming DLC packs. A range of new tracks, characters and karts were also revealed ahead of schedule, with plenty of callbacks to other well known Nintendo franchises such as Animal Crossing, Excitebike and F-Zero.

However, it wasn’t only the content that got spotted early — both the release schedule and pricing for the DLC was also erroneously on show. 

According to the Nintendo UK website Wii U owners can get the first Mario Kart 8 DLC pack in November, with the second coming six months later in May of 2015. Each DLC pack will reportedly cost £7, although it would seem you can get both for a reduced ‘bundle’ price of £11.

Mario Kart 8 DLC

Now, although Nintendo has dabbled in downloadable content before, this marks the first time the company has offered DLC in any significant way (Mercedes Benz don’t count). With new tracks, characters and karts, this is more than I think most people, myself included, ever expected.

Mario Kart 8 is the game which made me get a Wii U console. The game is a delight (hey Nintendo, how about letting me buy the utterly splendid soundtrack) and any more is welcome with arms wide open. Yup, this is DLC done right, and I’m looking forward to it; although, I do have one little tiny bugbear — the price.

When the DLC listing page was spotted over on the Nintendo UK website it clearly listed the content as £7. No question, that is a fair price, especially considering each pack comes with eight new courses. I will happily pay that for new opportunities to nail Toad with a red shell. Bargain.

But, it turns out the Mario Kart 8 DLC will cost just $7.99 across the pond in the United States.

At time of writing $7.99 USD is roughly equal to around just £4.80 — Meaning UK gamers are paying £2.20 more than they should be.

The Mario Kart 8 DLC bundle (that’s both upcoming DLC packs) costs $11.99 in the U.S. — in the UK just one DLC pack costs £7, which when converted over to U.S. dollars is $11.60. Even when taking U.S. sales tax into consideration the price gap still remains.

So, one Mario Kart 8 DLC pack bought in the UK costs nearly as much as the two pack bundle in the U.S.

Now, price parity has always been an issue in the UK, with many global companies simply copying their foreign price points across to Britain without performing any conversion. Recent Which? research highlighted this, commenting that UK consumers are getting a “raw deal” on many tech purchases.

Admittedly the price gap here is no where near as significant as it is with lets say, a new console or laptop, but the point remains. Sadly this practice seems to be the accepted norm.

Simply copying a price point across from another market is not the right way to treat your consumers.

The first Mario Kart 8 DLC is due for release in November.