Wario having a great time in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pack DLC

What Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s New DLC Tells Us About the Release Date of Mario Kart 9

Spoiler alert: It's nothing encouraging.

Many fans were hoping for a Mario Kart 9 reveal during the Nintendo Direct on February 9, 2022. After all, Mario Kart 8 originally came out in 2014 for the Wii U, with the deluxe version launching with the Switch itself in 2017. It’s high time for the Switch to get its own installment of Mario Kart, as the internet debated. Instead, Nintendo announced a “Booster Course Pass” DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which will add a whopping 48 courses. The look of shock and confusion on my face during the two-minute trailer was likely cartoonish.

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The audible groan I gave, however, was saved until about halfway through the video, when the voiceover proudly announced that the courses will be slowly rolled out, with the final cups coming “by the end of 2023.” The likelihood that Mario Kart 9 would release any time before the latter part of 2024 dropped to approximately 0.0005% if the current edition will receive updates for that long. And, let’s face it, they’ll probably announce Mario Kart 9 at E3 in June 2024, with the release coming even later.

This is a safe bet to make because 48 additional courses is a huge expansion, literally doubling the number of courses in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Many of the courses will be ports spanning the history of previous Mario Kart games, but there will likely be new courses, too. Essentially, they’re adding a second Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on top of the pre-existing one, which makes you wonder: What would Mario Kart 9 offer that this DLC doesn’t?

There are answers to this, of course: new gameplay mechanics and new characters (I miss you, Paratroopa). I personally want a game that challenges me to unlock tournaments and characters again, just like my beloved Double Dash did. But the central feature of the Mario Kart franchise is the courses, and we’re about to get another game’s worth of them.

The other reason to assume Mario Kart 9 is a ways off is because Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has absolutely absurd staying power. The game is still selling strong despite its age, and it’s nearing 39 million units sold. 39 million! It’s the best-selling Mario Kart game ever. For perspective, these numbers mean about 2 of every 5 Switch owners also owns Mario Kart 8.

So, alas, it looks like we’ll be playing a souped-up version of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the next two years. In the meantime, the DLC begins rolling out in March, and if you have the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, you’ll get it automatically. One wonders if they’re saving Mario Kart 9 for a new version of the Switch, but I’m quickly learning my lesson about undue speculation.

(featured image: Nintendo)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.