Update October 21st - Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party is once again available to purchase via the Nintendo eShop. Not only that, but it's on sale right now! You can grab it for $41.99, 30% off its usual sale price of $59.99. Now you can see what all the fuss was about!
Update June 17th 2:47PM - Taito has confirmed that it was indeed explicit lyrics that caused Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party to be removed from the eShop. Speaking via Twitter, Taito says it's "working on an update" to allow the game to go on sale again. Once the update is applied, Taito says Groove Coaster will temporarily remain on sale with the new, updated age rating of 17+ (Mature), but that "another update" is in the works to revert the rating to the original 10+ (Everyone). Taito also says it will be "much more careful" going forward. Original story follows below.
Original story: Rhythm game Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party has been pulled from sale on the Nintendo eShop. It's currently unavailable via the US and European versions of the shop, and developer Taito says it's investigating why this might have happened.
Why has Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party been removed from the eShop?
Reddit user Dannyannyanny first noticed Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party was no longer available on the eShop two days ago. Subsequently, Groove Coaster developer Taito announced yesterday that Groove Coaster and all of its DLC were unavailable via the eShop, and that the studio is "currently looking into the cause". Since then, Taito hasn't tweeted anything further regarding the situation, suggesting it hasn't been able to discover the cause or reach a resolution with Nintendo yet. As you might expect, Nintendo hasn't publicly commented on the situation either.
So, why has this happened? The Reddit user who first spotted the game's removal suggests that it could be down to the addition of the song "Excuse My Rudeness, But Could You Please RIP?" by Vtuber Mori Calliope as part of a DLC pack. The lyrics of the song contain a number of very explicit words. Interestingly, the pack in question's UK eShop page has a PEGI rating of 7, which would seem to suggest that the content has undergone an automated IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) process and that the explicit lyrics in the song were missed. Nintendo could then have subsequently picked up on these lyrics and hastily removed the game from sale while it makes a more permanent decision. This would be reinforced by the fact that there's no ESRB or PEGI listing for Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party, suggesting it never went through a manual approval process.
It's worth noting that on the US store page listing, which is still live (albeit with no "buy" button), Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party has had its ESRB rating changed from Everyone 10+ to Mature 17+, with a warning of "strong language" accompanying the rating. It's unfortunately impossible to say whether this is also the case for the PEGI rating on the European listing, as the page is currently completely inaccessible. The eShop listings for several DLC packs are still live and still list a PEGI rating of 7, though.
How will this situation be resolved?
There are a number of possibilities here. Nintendo could put the game back on sale with its new rating intact, which could hurt sales given that it's a pretty significant leap from Everyone to Mature. Alternately, Taito could heavily censor the song or songs at the root of the problem, which might convince Nintendo to reinstate Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party's original rating. There's also the chance - albeit slim - that an agreement won't be reached and that Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party will be permanently unavailable on the eShop, in which case Taito might look to port the game to other platforms. Again, this is extremely unlikely, but it is a remote possibility.
It isn't clear what courses of action Taito and Nintendo intend to pursue. We've reached out to Taito and its parent company Square for comment, and we've also contacted Nintendo and Mori Calliope's Vtuber agency Hololive for their thoughts on this story. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it. In the meantime, it's worth keeping an eye on Taito's Twitter page for any further developments.
What do you think of the Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party situation? Have you played the DLC in question? Let us know in the comments below!