KartRider interview – esports, Switch port, and bringing the franchise to the west

2020 is shaping up to be a bumper year for KartRider as the arcade racing sensation nitro boosts its way west. Last month saw the international release of KartRider: Rush+ on mobile devices with the PC and Xbox One beta for KartRider: Drift having just started.

For more on KartRider: Rush+ make sure you read our review in which the free-to-play racer bagged an impressive 8/10. If you’re looking for your KartRider fix elsewhere, we’re giving away keys for the Drift beta so come and claim one before they go!


In the meantime we had a chat with Nexon Producer, Dennis Bernardo, about Rush+ and bringing KartRider oversea to a new audience.

TSA: What has been the biggest challenge for Nexon in bringing KartRider Rush+ to western audiences?

DB: With all the kart racing games available in the market to western audiences, we took a hard look at KartRider Rush+ to see where it could fit and how it could fit in the racing genre. So, we had to figure out the right business model, how to adapt the controls and provide the best graphics before fully launching the game in the west.

TSA: What are Nexon’s plans to support the game? What can players expect in terms of new content in future?

DB: We want to continue building up KartRider Rush+. At launch, the game brought 50 race tracks and 20 karts with a wide variety of game modes for both casual and competitive players. Our plan is to add more karts, characters and tracks on an ongoing basis as the community grows. Launch was really only the beginning. We have a couple of new updates including three news tracks added this month and more updates coming soon.

TSA: Would Nexon ever consider a Nintendo Switch version of KartRider Rush+?

DB:  We’re always looking for ways to expand our games. While this isn’t something that we are planning at the moment, we aren’t opposed to the possibility.

TSA: With KartRider: Drift also coming to Xbox One and PC, why has Nexon decided to give the franchise a major push in 2020?

DB: Well, the KartRider IP has always been huge in Asia. It has gained over 300 million players across the globe and become the longest running esport in Korea over the past decade. KartRider Rush+ actually launched last year in China to test out the mobile market there and it performed very well. This was one of the strongest factors helping us to expand and bring that mobile experience to the U.S. and other global markets. Since there was also an audience pushing for an expansion to the kart racing genre, we thought it was the right time to expand the IP to the West and other global markets.

TSA: How has the KartRider esports scene developed in recent years? Is this something Nexon hopes to expand globally?

DB: The KartRider PC version has always had a huge presence in esports. Given its huge popularity and multiplayer capabilities, we hope to welcome even more players through KartRider Rush+. There is definitely the potential with its easy to pick-up and hard to master mechanics and the framework is there based on the existing leagues, but we plan to listen to the community and support its organic growth. If there is player demand, we will fully support it.

Thanks to Dennis for talking to us. Make sure to catch our review in which the free-to-play KartRider Rush+, and if you’ve got an Xbox One or PC, grab a key for the KartRider Drift beta.

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Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.