'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe'
'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' has been a hit for Nintendo Switch, but the game has had multiplayer issues since release. Do these online problems signal trouble for the console's upcoming online service? 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' is available now. Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been a smash hit for Nintendo Switch, and that popularity may be contributing to the game’s recent online multiplayer issues. Reddit threads have flooded the internet with complaints of lag, hit detection inaccuracies and connection errors. Does this spell doom for Nintendo Switch’s connected future?

It’s probably a bit premature to offer a definitive answer to that question, but we can at least enlighten you on the present situation. Trouble surfaced just hours after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe released last Friday. The most prevalent issues involved specific error codes when trying to join public lobbies with friends. Queuing mishaps and connection drops resulted in popular messages like “target device cannot accept any more connections” or “room is full” despite the latter assertion not being true. These problems only worsened in global lobbies.

Read: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Breaks Sales Records During Opening Weekend

Those who could enter a race, however, weren’t even pleased with the experience they had. Lagging opponents led to hit detection issues and wasted items. Were you hoping to use that red shell on the racer directly in front of you? Too bad. Your character may be celebrating, but your rival was never hit at all.

These frustrations became so prominent that they allegedly inspired a full investigation from the Wiimmfi team. For those who haven’t heard the name before, the group hosted Mario Kart Wii servers long after the official ones were taken offline. In short, these folks understand console networking. The results they came back with have prompted lots of debate.

From their perspective, the main culprit for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s multiplayer mishaps may be Nintendo’s decision to use peer-to-peer servers rather than dedicated ones. In short, while the protocol is still favored by lots of console games today, it’s not well suited for a fast-paced game like Mario Kart. The basics of the technology suggest that much of the gameplay functions are handled off the server itself. That requires keeping track of 12 racers, their positions and the items each one is carrying. As we’re seeing, that load is too heavy for this game to handle.

Read: 5 Wii Games We Want On Switch After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

So, if you’re looking for any magic fixes for your woes, you won’t find them here. The problems being encountered seemingly spring from Nintendo’s online design choice rather than an option that can be toggled in settings. Netcode can obviously improve with time, but the larger P2P environment makes that job all the more difficult.

Nintendo has never been the most up-to-date company when it comes to online infrastructure, but fans were hoping the mistakes of the past would be eradicated with the arrival of Nintendo Switch.

This is especially true considering gamers are expected to pay a fee for multiplayer access by the end of this year. While shifting Mario Kart 8 Deluxe off P2P would likely require too much heavy lifting to be viable, is its release a preview of what we’ll be seeing in 2018 and beyond? Will the same old Nintendo repeat its online regressions? Fans aren’t feeling very optimistic about that these days.

If there’s one thing to feel optimistic about, however, it’s the retail performance of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Between digital and physical sales, the game was purchased by nearly half of all Switch owners during the first weekend of its release. Such strong software sales not only bolster Nintendo’s bottom line but also strengthen the resolve of those hoping to play more Switch games in the years to come.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Have you encountered any multiplayer problems with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Should we be concerned for the Switch online service? Tell us in the comments section!