- Allegations surfaced on Twitter on Sunday that “Cooking Mama: Cookstar” for Nintendo Switch was using players’ Nintendo Switches to mine cryptocurrency.
- The game has also experienced distribution issues, with the game currently experiencing limited physical availability. It is currently not listed on the Nintendo eShop in the United States.
- Both the game’s developer, 1st Playable, and its publisher, Planet Entertainment, have denied claims that the game is used to mine cryptocurrency.
- Twitter users reacted to the news with bewilderment, making memes and comparing the allegations to other bizarre current events.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
This weekend, one piece of news managed to cut through the noise on Twitter by virtue of its sheer absurdity. While it’s since been denied by the creators of the game, claims circulated on Sunday that “Cooking Mama: Cookstar” was using players’ Nintendo Switches to mine cryptocurrency. The game, which was originally slated for release in March 2020 per a trailer, is currently unavailable on the Nintendo eShop in the United States.
On Sunday, a tweet featuring a screenshot from a Discord chat circulated on Twitter, spreading claims that the game was using players’ consoles to mine cryptocurrency and potentially disseminate user information as well. The rumor went that the activities would lead to a spike in Switch network traffic and a severe decrease in battery life, and trigger the console to overheat.
—GATORPOOON (@MorshuMmm) April 5, 2020
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying digital transactions using computer hardware — in this alleged case, the Nintendo Switch itself. Miners can get paid for their processing power in a cryptocurrency. If the claims were true, that would mean that a third party was getting paid for using players’ consoles as hardware to authenticate payments. According to IGN, there were also claims circulating that the game can only be played online in order to allow for cryptomining, but those appear to have been refuted by users playing the game while in airplane mode.
Allegations associating the game with cryptocurrency mining have previously surfaced, including in this tweet from March 6. They appear to trace back to a press release that was dated in Feb. 2019 by blockchain gaming company Planet Digital Partners AKA Planet Entertainment that claimed “Cooking Mama: Cookstar” would be “the first game to integrate blockchain technology on major consoles.” The release was aggregated elsewhere, including NintendoLife, which linked to the now-broken Planet Entertainment url ending with”video-game-publisher-planet-digital-partners-putting-cooking-mama-on-the-blockchain.”
The game’s developer, 1st Playable addressed the release on Twitter, highlighting the date it was released and saying that blockchain had never been brought up to developers.
The accusations quickly took off on Twitter, with many heralding it as another absurd news item in an exhausting and continuously escalating news cycle. Later on Sunday, Planet Entertainment denied the cryptocurrency mining claims via the game’s official account, tweeting, “Cooking Mama: Cookstar, nor any of our other titles in the past or near future will utilize crypto technology.”
—Cooking Mama: Cookstar (@CookstarMama) April 6, 2020
The game’s developer, 1st Playable, also refuted the claims in response to a direct inquiry on Twitter, stating, “As the developers we can say with certainty there is no cryptocurrency or data collection or blockchain or anything else shady in the code. The Nintendo Switch is a very safe platform, with none of the data and privacy issues associated with some mobile and PC games.”
There’s been support for the developer and publisher’s claims after one Twitter user did “some reverse engineering work,” and said that there was “no cryptominer/blockchain stuff anywhere within Cooking Mama: Cookstar’s code.”
“Cooking Mama: Cookstar” has also been having distribution issues in the United States and Europe
Rumors about the “Cooking Mama: Cookstar’s” hypothetical secondary purpose spread wildly on Twitter on Sunday, helped along by the game’s mysterious distribution circumstances which have left it unable to purchase for many online. IGN reported on Friday that the game was available on the Nintendo eShop for a few hours the week previous, but had been fully scrubbed from the digital storefront. At time of publishing, an IGN search for the game in the eShop in both the United States and Europe returned no results; a search by Insider Monday also returned no results.
There appear to be elusive physical copies of the game, with several Redditors having been able to purchase it and Amazon listing a third party seller to purchase the game. One third party seller, which IGN reported to have been seemingly set up only to sell “Cooking Mama: Cookstar,” no longer has any products in its storefront. The game is currently listed as being out of stock at Walmart and its listing appears to have been deleted from Target’s website, but the page still appears in a Google search for the terms “Cooking Mama: Cookstar Target.”
Screenrant reported that, per an anonymous source who was a member of the game’s development team, that the distribution issues were caused by a dispute between the publisher, Planet Entertainment, and the Cooking Mama intellectual property holder, Office Create.
Insider has reached out to both Planet Entertainment and 1st Playable for comment regarding the cryptocurrency mining allegations and distribution issues.
Cryptocurrency mining claims were just absurd enough to spread across Twitter, inciting jokes and memes
Actual controversy aside, the rumors sparked a series of bewildered tweets and memes. In the midst of an already exhausting news cycle, something as absurd as “Cooking Mama is using your Switch to mine cryptocurrency” almost feels refreshing.
—Lulu🌈🍔 (@luulubuu) April 5, 2020
—Mr. Feel, Haha Chainsaw Go Brrrr (@mrfeelswildride) April 5, 2020
Others spoofed Cooking Mama herself, depicting the character alongside the Bitcoin symbol and with coins tumbling from her pockets.
—lawn! @ animal crossing hell 🏝 (@tekuspew) April 5, 2020
—[ Xsplosive! ] (@TheXsplosive) April 6, 2020
—Pixelbuster (@Nitomatta) April 5, 2020
Others highlighted the cryptocurrency controversy vis-à-vis other pieces with a similar tone, drawing a comparison back to the late 2010s “Yoshi committed tax fraud” meme.
—🌊🦈Lazerbones McGraw ⛱️🌴 (@CautionLazer) April 5, 2020
Overall, the Cooking Mama controversy is yet another absurd news item in an already breakneck news cycle, even with both the developer and publisher having swiftly shut down allegations of cryptocurrency mining.