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Mario Kart 8 Booster Courses DLC will be (sort of) free to all players

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A look in the fine print on the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Courses reveals an interesting piece of information.

It’s fair to say not everybody was happy about the announcement of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Courses during last week’s Nintendo Direct.

Thanks to the my-uncle-who-works-at-Nintendo rumour mill, people were expecting a Mario Kart 9 announcement. Instead, they got some paid DLC for a 2017 port of a 2014 game.

They also weren’t thrilled with the look and feel of the expansion courses, which look more visually similar to the Mario Kart World Tour mobile game than the Wii U Nintendo Switch classic.

But it’s hard to argue with the longevity of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and further courses only extend its value proposition. The 48 additional courses (from throughout the series’ history) will be released in waves over the next two years, and if you want to buy the Booster Courses DLC standalone, that’ll cost you £22.49.

You’ll also get access to the new courses if you’re a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriber, another service that wasn’t popular at first but has become better value over time.

But what if you didn’t have to pay to play the courses in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Courses DLC? Let’s examine the fine print on the DLC’s Nintendo eShop page.

“Courses from wave 1 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass can be played from March 18th locally or online in Friends and Rivals races, even if only one player owns the Booster Course Pass or has access to it as part of a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership. From March 22nd, courses from wave 1 will also appear in the Random selection when playing Global or Regional races with anyone online.”

Which is a little surprising. It makes sense that you can play them if a friend who owns the DLC invites you to play – Nintendo is actually pretty good at things like download play – but it is a bit of a surprise that they’ll also appear in standard online rotation.

Will it stay that way forever? It’s hard to say for sure. Nintendo certainly has no obligation to keep it that way. But in terms of keeping player numbers up and avoiding online matchmaking wait times becoming a sticking point for those new courses that not everyone will pay for? It makes sense.

Thanks, Eurogamer.

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