The Nintendo Switch and Wii U definitely have one thing in common: Mario Kart 8 is by far Nintendo’s most successful game on both systems. And the latest part of the kart racer series for consoles is no longer a new game. Originally released in 2014 for Nintendo’s botched Wii U, Mario Kart 8 was re-released for the Switch in 2017 as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Part eight has sold 8.46 million copies on the Wii U. Anything but bad value given the 13.56 million consoles sold. The Switch implementation of the racing game has now achieved 45.33 million sales, making a total of 53.79 million. Insanity! On the one hand, it shows the hunger for Mario Kart that is obviously there. On the other hand, it probably only delays the release of a Mario Kart 9 even further.
Why knock out a new part when the predecessor is still selling so well? Anyway, given its success on the Switch, I was surprised that Nintendo stuck around for so long – five years! – took time to announce new DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Which, mind you, only consists of old, well-known racetracks that are heaved into the eighth part. What expansion options à la Smash Bros Ultimate would have offered here…
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The point is, Nintendo plans to have these DLCs until the end of 2023. And I can’t imagine the company releasing a Mario Kart 9 before that deadline while the predecessor is still being replenished. Another question to ask: is the Switch even getting a new Mario Kart? Or does Nintendo save part nine entirely for the successor console?
Earlier this year, a Japanese industry expert suggested that Mario Kart 9 was already in active development and could be presented as early as 2022. I’m now wondering if that didn’t just mean the new DLC packs for part eight. As mentioned, with a new part coming in the near future, Nintendo would arguably torpedo its own DLC plans for MK8.
The new DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brings familiar tracks into play.
Whether we like it or not, the conclusion to be drawn from this is that all of us who bought Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch and helped make the game such a massive success, also helped keep Mario Kart 9 a long time coming. Nice for Nintendo that the game has the success it deserves. Bad for any fans waiting for something really new that they might not get with the new DLC tracks for part eight.
But we can be absolutely sure of one thing: Mario Kart 9 will come. It’s not a question of if, but of when. When is the right time for this? If you ask me, it won’t be before 2024. Will we be playing it on a Switch successor in two years? Time will show. If not, we’ll definitely get another Mario Kart 9 Deluxe later. And then the wait begins for Mario Kart 10. The circle of life…