Mario Kart 8 speeding into living rooms as part of new digital Wii U bundle

nintendo wii u mario kart 8 digital

The launch of Super Mario Maker for the Nintendo Wii U is just days away, and with the potential for this to be the biggest Wii U release to date, Nintendo wants to make sure it can sell a few extra consoles as a result.

To sweeten the pot, Nintendo announced yesterday that it has got a new Wii U bundle ready. This bundle offers the same hardware as a premium Wii U pack, complete with the GamePad controller necessary for playing Super Mario Maker. That’s not the game bundled with the system, however. Instead, this bundle comes with Mario Kart 8.

That itself isn’t surprising, but the fact that a physical disc isn’t involved is. Mario Kart 8 is pre-installed on the Wii U, and an eShop card is included, giving buyers access to the two DLC packs that have been released for the game so far. The DLC packs combined offer new characters Link, Isabelle, and a pair of Villagers from Animal Crossing, as well as two new tracks: Hyrule Circuit and an Animal Crossing course that changes seasons.

Though Nintendo hasn’t focused on digital downloads the same way that Microsoft and Sony have to date, that seems to be changing in recent months. Earlier this month, Nintendo launched a storefront on Amazon offering codes for digital downloads of Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games as well as Virtual Console titles.

The company is offering pre-orders for digital versions of games through the storefront, and this, combined with a digital-only Wii U bundle, shows Nintendo taking a much larger step into the world of digital releases. Unlike games for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even PC, digital downloads for Nintendo platforms are tied to the hardware rather than the account, which could make some potential customers wary.

The Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle is available in stores across the country now for a suggested retail price of $300. Super Mario Maker hits store shelves this Friday.