Nintendo has taken down the online features of the Wii U versions of Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon today due to an unspecified security vulnerability. VGC reports that the games were taken offline at 11:30PM ET last night and that the company suggests the fix could take days (via IGN). The Nintendo Switch versions of the games are not affected.
Splatoon , Mario Kart 8 — This network service is currently unavailable due to urgent maintenance required to fix a vulnerability related to online play. We do not yet have information on when network services can be restored. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. (Error Code: 106-0811)
As VGC notes, a Nintendo data miner known as OatmealDome tweeted that the security issue could be related to an exploit that allows an attacker to take over a victim’s console by just pairing up with them in the game. According to OatmealDome, whose Twitter profile says they’re also a Dolphin Emulator developer, the vulnerability is “almost certainly” ENLBufferPwn, which Nintendo purportedly defended against by releasing a patch for some games on the Switch and even Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS.
The Wii U’s top-selling game of all time was Mario Kart 8 (just like the Nintendo Switch with the Deluxe version) and sold over 8 million copies. So if there are any active Wii U players out there — I personally have a friend who’s borrowing mine and his kids play it almost daily — then it’s likely Mario Kart 8 online play is being missed somewhere right now.
Nintendo’s Wii U was discontinued in 2017 and had only sold 13.56 million units in its lifetime. The system was widely regarded as a failure and was outsold by its successor, the Nintendo Switch, in just 10 months.
Nintendo is still working on fixing the issues with Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon for Wii U despite the console being defunct — though it’s planning on taking away new Wii U eShop sales this month. Considering Nintendo has released Switch console bundles with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on an almost annual basis, the company could be expecting fans to have upgraded from the Wii U by now.