Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 are back online on Wii U

Mario Kart 8 Header

After five long months, Nintendo are bringing back Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 online multiplayer on the Wii U, having addressed security issues with the two games with an update. Splatoon games and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch have been unaffected throughout this time.

Multiplayer will return tomorrow, 3rd August 2023, and require an update for both games before online play can resume.

“Please accept our sincere apologies for the extended waiting period,” Nintendo said in the statement, but warned that, “If further issues occur which make it difficult to continue supporting online play, we may have to discontinue the online play service for the Wii U games Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 at short notice.”

The original Splatoon and Wii U version of Mario Kart 8 were taken offline in March of this year with Nintendo at the time simply stating that they were being taken down “due to urgent maintenance required to fix a vulnerability related to online play.”

With the age of the games, speculation quickly came to this being to try and resolve a security flaw in the ageing console’s games, with Nintendo dataminer OatmealDome point to the ENLBufferPwn hack as a likely reason. This issue allows hackers to remotely execute code and was a significant enough issue for Nintendo to dedicate resources to fixing it. Then again, they seemingly had experience with this issue, as it affected a number of first party games spread across 3DS, Wii U and Switch, all of which needed updating.

Alongside dropping player counts, it’s these kinds of problems that lead to developers and publishers shutting down online games and servers as they get old, with the need to pin down and fix the issue becoming more and more problematic when dealing with ageing codebases, older systems and dated SDKs. We saw a remote execution issue knock FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series offline right around the launch of Elden Ring last year, and it took the studio months and months before they released updates.

Still, it’s great to see Nintendo continue to support games with security patches, considering just how small the player-base for these games must be. While some of the Wii U’s best-selling games, Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon have long been superseded by Nintendo Switch entries.

Source: Nintendo via Eurogamer

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