Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course DLC: Release Date, Tracks, And Everything We Know
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has gotten its first new content in years, with the first wave of its Booster Pass content set to add eight retro tracks.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling game on Nintendo Switch, and after five years of racing rings around every other Switch game on the market, it's gotten a huge dose of DLC. The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass will add tons of additional courses to the game, spread out in six waves through the end of 2023. The first of these courses has now arrived, so we've rounded up all of the details you need to know: what tracks have been confirmed, when they're releasing, whether you can buy these DLC packs individually, and more.
What is the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass?
The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass takes a note from the successful Fighter Passes for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, giving fans regular content drops that expand upon an already popular game. Unlike the Fighter Passes, though, this content can't be bought a la carte. The Booster Pass is the only way to gain access to the new tracks, and it entitles you to all of the new tracks as they're released.
The pass will add 48 tracks over the course of six content drops that will last through the end of 2023. Each wave will include eight courses, and judging by the first pass, those eight courses will be split into two cups each. The courses are remastered versions of tracks from throughout the series history, from the Super NES original to the most recent, Mario Kart Tour for mobile.
The first wave hit on March 18, 2022. Release dates for the remaining waves has not been detailed.
How much does the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass cost?
There are various options to purchase the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass. Purchasing the Booster Pass by itself is $25, which will grant you access to all the tracks as they're released. But that's not your only option.
The Booster Pass is also included with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. That costs $50 per year, and also gets you other Switch Online benefits. It comes with all of the usual Switch Online perks like online play, NES and SNES games, and exclusive games like Tetris 99. The Expansion Pack adds extra perks like N64 and Genesis games, along with the Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise DLC.
The most expensive option is the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack family plan, which costs $80 per year. That gets you all of the Expansion Pack perks listed above, and the ability to share those perks with your entire family group (up to 8 people).
What does the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass include?
The booster pass includes all 48 remastered tracks, to be released in six waves of eight tracks each. Nintendo has not announced all of the tracks coming--again, similar to the mystery roll-out of Smash Bros. Fighter Passes--but we know it will be a mixture of tracks from throughout the series history. That includes all seven previous console Mario Kart games, along with Mario Kart Tour on mobile. That's a lot of tracks to choose from.
The original Mario Kart 8 Deluxe release includes 48 tracks--32 regular tracks and another 16 that were added as DLC when the game released on the Nintendo Wii U. MK8 Deluxe includes all of those DLC extras from the start. That means that once all of the Booster Pass tracks are released, MK8 will have effectively doubled in size, from 48 tracks to 96.
So far, we only know the first wave tracks, which you can find below. Mario Kart Tour is the most heavily represented, with three tracks out of eight represented. The rest of the selection runs the gamut with N64, Wii, GBA, DS, and 3DS all represented with one track each.
- Golden Dash Cup
- Paris Promenade (Tour)
- Toad Circuit (3DS)
- Choco Mountain (N64)
- Coconut Mall (Wii)
- Lucky Cat Cup
- Tokyo Blur (Tour)
- Shroom Ridge (DS)
- Sky Garden (GBA)
- Ninja Hideaway (Tour)
Why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?
You may have wondered: why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Why now? Those are fair questions. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a five-year-old port of a Wii U game, which itself is eight years old. It hasn't gotten many updates since launch, and it's had no content updates during that time.
To start, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the Nintendo Switch's best-selling game, by a huge margin. According to Nintendo sales data, it has sold 43 million copies as of December 31, 2021. Given that the same data says that Nintendo has sold 103 million Nintendo Switch units, that's roughly a 40% attach rate. It makes sense that Nintendo would want to capitalize on its success.
Another factor may be the success of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Fighters Pass model showed that Nintendo can sustain interest in a game with a steady drip of new content. It's probably no coincidence that the Mario Kart's Booster Pass follows an almost identical model, right down to a single purchase paying for months of content, before much of that content has been revealed.
Finally, Nintendo is using the Booster Pass to enhance the value of its Nintendo Switch + Expansion Pack offerings. The tier of service is notably pricier than its standard online service, and Nintendo appears to be dropping DLC for its popular games as an extra bonus. It started this trend by including a DLC expansion for Animal Crossing: New Horizons--notably its second-best-seller--and Mario Kart continues that trend. We may ultimately see other games get their own content included in the Expansion Pack on a semi-regular basis.
The first wave of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass content is now available.
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