One thing we at least have to give to Nintendo at just about every turn: they're creative. The company isn't afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. However, sometimes trying something new doesn't always translate into something successful, just like with their Mario Kart TV service, which is now coming to an end.
Shacknews is reporting that the Mario Kart TV web portal, which was first introduced back in 2014 with the launch of Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, is closing down. Starting April 4 the service will no longer function and Nintendo will shutter the doors on the little experiment for good.
The closure of Mario Kart TV does not mean that the replay features and the ability to save and upload videos to YouTube will end. Those features will still be available for gamers to mess around with and utilize to their heart's content. However, the actual web portal for the service will go kaput on April 4.
Originally Mario Kart TV was introduced as a way to create a video community surrounding Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. This worked for a little bit when things like the Luigi Death Stare went viral and a bunch of gamers and the media were talking about the Death Stare. However, the biggest issue was the small install base of the Wii U and the fact that Nintendo did very little to bolster the appeal of the Wii U during that time.
The company had some serious issues with being able to get the game and the Wii U into the hands of casual gamers. In result, Mario Kart 8 managed to sell enough, moving more than 5 million copies as of last spring, according to Nintendo Life. While the numbers are definitely good, they're also not that great compared to previous outings, such as Mario Kart Wii, which managed to sell more than 36 million copies for the Wii, as detailed in Nintendo's financial report. Then again, the big difference was that the Wii was a mammoth seller and managed to win the seventh generation of gaming thanks to its install base. The Wii U, on the other hand, struggled shortly after launching thanks to a dearth of software titles and the fact that companies like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts pulled out from supporting the console shortly into its life-span, causing it to lose a lot of appeal amongst casual gamers and sports fans.
All of that is to say that Mario Kart TV could have been a lot bigger had the Wii U been a lot more established with a larger install base. It was an interesting initiative by Nintendo, only cut short by the fact that they couldn't quite grow an audience around the service. Anyway, at least Mario Kart 8 owners can still easily save their replays and upload their videos to YouTube.
You can expect the service to be available up until April 4, so it might be best to get in some time with Mario Kart TV before it ends for good.