Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon for the Wii U have been permanently pulled offline by Nintendo while it works to address security concerns. “This network service is presently unavailable due to urgent maintenance necessary to fix a vulnerability linked to online play,” reads a statement posted to Nintendo’s website at 11:30PM ET on Thursday. “When network services can be recovered is not yet known to us. We regret any trouble this may have caused.”
the vulnerability might be connected to an exploit that would enable an attacker to gain access to a victim’s PC by simply matching them up in an online multiplayer game. Dataminer OatmealDome asserted that ENLBufferPwn is “probably certainly” to blame for the problem.
The 3DS version of Mario Kart 7 was previously open to such hack. It appears that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nintendo Switch Sports, and Splatoon 2 and 3 were all affected. All of those games appear to have been patched by Nintendo to guard against the vulnerability.
In a video published by YouTube user PabloMK7 in December, ENLBufferPwn is shown playing Mario Kart 7 in action. Onto the targeted console, it is utilized to inject customized firmware. PabloMK7 stated on GitHub that using the microphone and cameras of the 3DS, “it would potentially be able” to steal account or credit card information and record a victim.
Mario Kart 8 has the most sales on the Wii U, selling close to 8.5 million copies. The first Splatoon sold nearly 5 million copies. The fact that the internet services are temporarily inaccessible may disappoint those who are still playing games on the retired system, but it appears Nintendo had little choice but to turn them off for the time being.
Only a few weeks have passed since the Wii U and 3DS eShops were shut down by Nintendo due to this issue. Owners of the systems will still be able to download any previously purchased games after March 27th, even if they won’t be able to make purchases on the digital marketplaces. Nintendo recently unveiled the newest courses that will be available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch starting the next week as part of the Booster Course Pass.