This month Nintendo and Velan Studios will release Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. There are already a lot of RC cars FPV around the world but this is the first time that a “major” company is releasing a product in the mass market. Of course these karts are just toys, but I’m confident that this will help make FPV more popular also in the hobby market. Just check the videos below!
FPV cameras on-board the Mario and Luigi RC karts offer an on-screen AR (augmented reality) first-person racing experience. As you drive the kart around, AR elements such as enemies and items appear on screen, backed by the real track.
The Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is available in the stores from October 16th in two versions: Mario and Luigi. Both sets will have the SRP of $99.99 USD (or 109 euro).
The project started as an experiment by a small team at Velan. Like many prototypes, the main goal was to “find the fun”. Designers built an RC car by kitbashing together drone parts, cameras, and sensors to create a unique third-person view driving experience.
Although that was great, Velan staff wanted to take it further. An RC car can be difficult to control, so they made it drive as easily as a car in a video game. Adding actual game rules, mechanics, and visuals overlaid on the real world made it fun to play over and over. As they kept building our test tracks, deisgners found another bit of magic: course creation with household objects.
Designers say: “And finally, Mixed Reality was how we wrapped the game structure around real-world play. It became much more than the buzzword-filled AR tech demos we were seeing at the time. The experience started to feel like a very unique game that we’d keep coming back to play, centered on three pillars: drive, build, and race.
After months of work on the initial prototype, the team felt we had the start of something really special. There was something immediate and satisfying about driving from the view of the car, and combining it with gameplay opened up a whole new kind of experience. Most importantly, it felt great to play. We took the demo to Kyoto, Japan, the home of Nintendo. Sometimes the best way to develop an idea is to show it to other creative people and jam on it”.
“Get your engines revved up for Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, which launches just in time for the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Whether you’ve always dreamed of turning your living room into Rainbow Road or want to prove once and for all that you’re the fastest racer among your friends and family, we hope this new Mario Kart experience brings smiles to people of all ages.”
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit includes one kart (with either Mario or Luigi) plus four gates, two arrow signboards that can be used to enhance courses and a USB charging cable for the kart. The software comes in the form of a free download from Nintendo eShop, which, once downloaded, syncs up with the toy kart.