Japan's getting a VR edition of everyone's favorite plumber-racing franchise. But we'll most likely never get our hands on it.

Mario Kart Arcade GP VR Looks Amazing, and We’ll Never Get It

Japan's getting a VR edition of everyone's favorite plumber-racing franchise. But we'll most likely never get our hands on it.
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Everyone loves Mario Kart. Nintendo’s flagship racing franchise has been on pretty much every system they’ve put out since the SNES — the latest being the smash-hit Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch.

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It’s a well-loved franchise, and chances are everyone’s played at least one of the games at some point in their gaming career. So it stands to reason that Nintendo’s first foray into the fledgling world of VR would be with the tried-and-true Mario Kart. It’s just a shame we overseas folk likely won’t get to play it.

Thanks to Famitsu for the images.

Mario Kart Arcade GP VR (man that’s a mouthful) is the fourth in the subseries of arcade-based Mario Kart games. Preceding it were Mario Kart Arcade GP 1, 2, and DX. All of them feature the same same basic idea as the console outings: race to be first throughout a number of Mario locales, while throwing items at your opponents to shake up the positions. The arcade cabinets feature pedals and steering wheels versus the usual controllers — but to those familiar with the concept, it’s not too difficult to adapt.

So if GP VR is so similar to it’s predecessors, why is it not going to make the jump? The answer is more complicated than you might think. 

Much like Bowser and Wario, it seems like GP VR will be just out of reach.

First of all, GP VR‘s release is incredibly limited to begin with in Japan. You can only play it at one arcade — VR Zone Shinjuku. When even other Japanese arcades can’t get their hands on on this VR Mario experience, there’s no way a Western one would.

GP VR‘s setup is also a lot more intensive than most other arcade cabinets — requiring not only a large space for the physical kart that is the cabinet, but also needing the actual VR headsets to be set up properly and maintained.

Finally, unlike in Japan, where the arcade scene is still alive and well, the Western arcade business is for the most part dead in the water — so there’s little demand for a Western version, no matter how cool the game actually seems to be.

It’s unfortunate, but factors like the ones listed above likely mean that GP VR won’t ever be hitting Western shores. It’s a shame that Nintendo’s cautious first dip of the toe into the VR space is such an exclusive one. But barring a rich, eccentric fan importing a cabinet, it looks like VR Zone Shinjuku will be the only home for Mario Arcade GP VR.

The game could very well look and play like a dream, but unfortunately, it seems that this is one VR title we’ll have to watch from afar. 

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