Why Mario Kart 9 probably won’t be revealed in today’s Nintendo Direct

Mario Kart 9 is one of the most highly-requested games to make an appearance during today’s Nintendo Direct, with fans asking for a new Nintendo Switch entry in the racing series. But will Nintendo unveil a brand new Mario Kart 9 trailer for viewers and give them what they want? Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to be the case. Here’s why MK9 probably won’t be revealed today.

Mario Kart 9 likely won’t be released before Q3 2021

Nintendo specified that today’s Nintendo Direct will focus on games being released in the first half of 2021, meaning that we’ll receive information on games with release dates from now until June. This is presumably to temper expectations and prevent fans from dreaming up announcements like Mario Kart 9, a game that hasn’t been formally announced yet.

While Mario Kart 9 is undoubtedly on its way given the success of the series, it’s unclear if the game is currently in development. Nintendo hasn’t shared any details about whether or not it’s working on the game, so it’s unlikely that it will be both announced and released within the same 4-month window.

For comparison, Mario Kart 8 was announced in January 2013, received its first trailer at E3 2013, and then launched in May 2014. While Nintendo could employ a quicker turnaround for its sequel, it’s predicted that the company would want a bigger lead-up to one of its highest-earning franchises.

Nintendo EPD is working on other projects

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Nintendo EPD is the largest division within the company, housing the developers that worked on Mario Kart 8 when they were a part of the now-defunct Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development division. EPD is responsible for the majority of Nintendo’s biggest games, with it currently working on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and having just wrapped up Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

With Breath of the Wild 2 having been revealed back in 2019, Zelda fans are expecting more information pertaining to the sequel. It seems more likely that Nintendo EPD is focusing its efforts on this sequel than rushing through Mario Kart 9’s announcement and release.

Still, Nintendo EPD has pushed out multiple major games within a single year before. In 2020, the division released Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe, while in 2019 it launched Super Mario Maker 2, Ring Fit Adventure, and Mario Kart Tour. However, while Nintendo EPD has been prolific in the past, launching Mario Kart 9 and continuing the development of Breath of the Wild 2 within the same year seems too gargantuan a task.

Mario Kart doesn’t need a sequel right now

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 8.6 million copies in the last nine months, making it the second highest-selling Switch game of the past three financial quarters, behind Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s also the best-selling Switch game of all time with 33.41 million copies sold.

If Nintendo was to release Mario Kart 9 in the first half of 2021 it would be a huge success, but it would also cannibalize the sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Ultimately, if Nintendo can continue to make tons of money from Mario Kart without releasing another mainline entry in the series, why would it choose to do so?

There’s certainly a huge audience ready for Mario Kart 9, but we imagine they’ll be left waiting a little while longer. In the meantime, Nintendo fans can speculate over whether or not a new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter will be revealed.