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How to Download Mario Kart 8 DLC for Free: The Ultimate Guide

As a longtime Mario Kart fan, I‘m thrilled at the chance to revisit classic tracks in Mario Kart 8‘s new Booster Course Pass DLC. And I‘m even more excited to tell you how to access all 48 retro remasters for free!

Keep reading and I‘ll explain everything you need to know to save money on these nostalgic courses.

What Exactly is The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass DLC?

Let‘s start with a quick overview of what this paid add-on content actually includes.

Released in late 2021, the Booster Course Pass serves up 48 total retro tracks from old Mario Kart games like Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart DS. Nintendo is dividing the courses into six separate waves of eight tracks each.

These will roll out periodically until the end of 2023, essentially doubling the number of base courses that originally shipped with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe back in 2017.

Nintendo is keeping quiet on exactly which throwback tracks will appear, slowly unveiling them wave by wave to build anticipation among fans. But we can expect to see many all-time favorites make the cut based on selections we‘ve seen so far.

If purchased outright, the Booster Course Pass costs:

  • $24.99 USD
  • $32.99 CAD
  • £22.49

This one-time fee permanently unlocks all six waves of content through the end of 2023.

But more on how to get it without paying later. First, let‘s look at why Nintendo is focusing on DLC over an entirely new Mario Kart sequel.

Why Fans Won‘t See Mario Kart 9 Anytime Soon

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has already sold a staggering 43 million copies as of March 2022, making it the best-selling Switch game of all time. And even 5 years after launch, it continues entering top 10 monthly sales charts.

Given this ongoing momentum, Nintendo likely sees more value in extending the life of this record-setting entry with DLC rather than dividing fans across a new sequel.

As Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa stated to investors:

"Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues to show stellar sales growth more than four years after its launch. We think that software-based expandable content that keeps gameplay fresh will become increasingly important."

This aligns with a broader industry trend of publishers relying more heavily on DLC and live service-style games rather than rushing full numbered sequels.

So while we can undoubtedly expect a Mario Kart 9 down the road, possibly teased late next year once the Booster Pass concludes, don‘t expect it anytime in 2023 while these remastered tracks remain in the spotlight.

Play Mario Kart 8‘s New DLC Tracks For Free with This Membership

Ready for the best part? You can gain access to all 48 courses across these six upcoming waves at no additional cost simply by having a paid Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership!

This upgraded online membership runs $49.99 annually and includes:

  • Online multiplayer gameplay
  • Cloud save data backup
  • Special offers like free Animal Crossing DLC
  • Full libraries of classic N64 and Genesis/Megadrive games
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass DLC

As long as you maintain an active Expansion Pack membership, you can download and play the Booster Course Pass content as soon as each wave releases.

Of course, you‘ll need a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to actually access the new tracks. But the DLC itself is free while subscribed, valued at $24.99!

Let‘s take a closer look at everything the Expansion Pack offers to help decide if it‘s worth it for you.

Does the Expansion Pack Add Enough Value?

Some budget-focused gamers may hesitate to spend $49.99 per year just to get access to the Booster Course Pass. But there are other membership perks that can sweeten the deal:

  • 64 classic N64 games like Super Mario 64, Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and more
  • Sega Genesis games like Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2, Ecco the Dolphin, Golden Axe
  • Special offers like Animal Crossing: New Horizons paid DLC for free
  • Online multiplayer for all supported Switch games

If you have any nostalgia for retro gaming or enjoy Nintendo‘s older franchises, the included N64 and Genesis libraries alone offer tremendous entertainment for a yearly $50.

And given the Booster Course Pass normally costs $24.99 on its own, subscribing basically pays for itself if you plan to play those extra Mario Kart courses.

You can always cancel the auto-renewal after 12 months to avoid being charged again.

Here‘s a handy table comparing what‘s included with each Nintendo online membership tier:

Nintendo Switch Online$19.99/yearOnline play
Cloud saves
Special offers
Nintendo Switch Online
+ Expansion Pack
$49.99/yearAbove +
N64 & Genesis games
Mario Kart 8 DLC
Animal Crossing DLC

Based on this, the Expansion Pack seems well worth it if you want the Booster Course Pass and have any interest in classic gaming.

Be Aware – Mario Kart DLC is Region Locked!

Before we get to the fun part of actually downloading the content, an important warning.

Nintendo downloadable content and cartridges are region locked. This means:

  • North American DLC only works with North American copies of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
  • Japanese DLC requires the Japanese version of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
  • European DLC needs a European Mario Kart 8 Deluxe copy.

So if you made your Nintendo account in a different region than the actual game card you own, the DLC may not work!

When setting up your Nintendo account, be sure to select your actual country of residence for the best match. Avoid buying DLC from another regional eShop without double checking.

Ideally, purchase all games and DLC from the same region‘s storefront when possible. This prevents any hiccups.

Now that we got that squared away, let‘s get you racing down memory lane!

Step-by-Step Guide to Downloading Your Free DLC

Follow these steps to access your complimentary Booster Course Pass using your Expansion Pack membership:

  1. Double check that you have an active Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership on your account. You can purchase or renew access on the Nintendo eShop if needed.

  2. From your Switch‘s home screen, launch the Nintendo eShop.

  3. Select your profile icon in the top right corner.

  4. Scroll down and tap "Nintendo Switch Online."

  5. Find the Booster Course Pass icon and hit "Free Download."

  6. Once finished, the DLC will automatically be added to your Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game!

  7. You can access the new courses by updating Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when each new wave releases. Just connect online and download the update data.

And that‘s all it takes to expand your Mario Kart track selection for free!

What If You Don‘t Own the DLC? Play Online!

Don‘t want to purchase the Booster Course Pass or subscribe to Expansion Pack? There‘s another way to play the courses at no cost!

Even if you don‘t personally own the DLC, you can still access the new tracks through online play. Simply join friends who do own the pass.

When playing online, all 48 remastered courses will appear as selectable tracks even without buying them yourself. Sweet!

Of course, you‘ll only have access during online multiplayer. But for many Mario Kart fans, that‘s the main draw anyway!

Troubleshooting Issues Accessing Your Free Tracks

Hopefully you‘ll be zooming down the new courses trouble-free shortly after following the steps above. But just in case, here are some troubleshooting tips for common DLC issues:

  • Redownload the Booster Course Pass – If previously deleted, you may need to reacquire it from the eShop.

  • Check Expansion Pack membership status – You need an active membership for ongoing "free" access.

  • Update Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Brand new tracks won‘t appear until you download the latest game update.

  • Confirm regional match – Remember, DLC must match the region of your Mario Kart 8 game cartridge or digital copy.

  • Restart your Switch console – Power cycling can help clear up software issues.

  • Re-link your Nintendo Account – Make sure your account is still authorized on your Switch for DLC access.

For additional help, you can contact Nintendo Support and provide any error codes you encounter. They can assist with diagnosing any other potential technical problems.

The Nostalgia Factor – Recapturing Mario Kart Magic

For me and many other lifelong Mario Kart players, there‘s something extra special about revisiting classic tracks in glorious HD. It really captures the nostalgia of younger days spent battling friends in multiplayer.

Playing these stages again with enhanced graphics and Mario Kart 8‘s fantastic gameplay brings back fond memories while also feeling fresh thanks to small design changes and additions over the years.

Seeing favorites like Wii Coconut Mall or 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar revived with such care recaptures the magic and community of past Mario Kart entries. And I feel Nintendo has only gotten better at faithfully recreating retro courses over the years.

Experiencing these pieces of Mario Kart history systematically over several waves of DLC keeps each wave feeling like an "event." It has already reignited a passion for Mario Kart among many older fans.

Personally, I find it worth the price of admission just to relive childhood memories sliding around corners in Coconut Mall to that upbeat saxophone again! The new courses have exceeded my expectations.

The Verdict? This Mario Kart DLC is a Slam Dunk

In closing, I‘d absolutely recommend Mario Kart heads snag the Booster Course Pass, especially if you have fond memories of earlier Mario Kart games dating back to the DS, Wii era or earlier.

The team at Nintendo is really showing their expertise here at remixing old content in enjoyable ways. Each wave so far has been a treat.

Accessing these courses with the Expansion Pack essentially nets you the DLC at half off thanks to the included N64 and Genesis libraries. That‘s a bargain!

While we eagerly await Mario Kart 9 off in the distance, these remasters should provide endless hours of multiplayer fun for both nostalgic veterans and newer players alike.

Just try not to destroy too many lifelong friendships with the devastating power of the Blue Shell. Races can get a little too competitive sometimes!

So get ready to start your engines and cruise into the past by downloading this amazing DLC. Here‘s to many more sweet memories of Mario Kart yet to come!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.