If you were holding your breath for news of Mario Kart 9, you might as well exhale. The racer’s immediate predecessor, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, is still one of publisher Nintendo’s best-selling games on Switch. It has sold a hair short of 10 million copies over the past year, according to an earnings statement published today.
Just to reiterate: 2017’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a moderately spruced-up version of a game that launched alongside the printing press, is still putting up numbers that come within spitting distance of Pokémon, a perennial sales blockbuster. In fact, for Nintendo’s fiscal year 2022, which ran from last April through the end of this March, Pokémon is the only series whose games outsold Kart.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus, a spin-off from the mainline series that came out in January, sold 12.6 million copies. November’s Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes, meanwhile, sold a staggering 14.6 million copies. (It’s worth noting, however, that some Pokémon fans tend to buy both versions to more easily trade for version-exclusive Pokémon.) Mario Party Superstars, another Nintendo nostalgia cash-in, sold close to 7 million copies, while pandemic time-sink Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold roughly 6 million.
Nintendo has demonstrated an impressive ability to squeeze blood from the Mario Kart 8 stone. During a February Nintendo Direct, amid a fever-pitch rumor mill that suggested Mario Kart 9 may or may not be in the works, Nintendo revealed the game’s Booster Course Pack, a wave of new downloadable content for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The pack didn’t include anything totally new, mind you: It was a collection of 48 reimagined maps from Mario Karts past, partitioned into bundles, where a handful would come out every few months.
Fans said these versions of the maps are a graphical downgrade compared to even, oh, Mario Kart Tour, a mobile spin-off. Subscribers to Nintendo Switch Online’s premium tier can access the not-quite-new courses as soon as they’re released. Otherwise, the Booster Course Pack is available separately for $25. The last batch of maps is planned for release before the end of next year.
Yeah, we’re never getting Mario Kart 9.