Cooking Mama: Cookstar cryptomining controversy
On March 26th, 2020, Cooking Mama: Cookstar, the sixth main instalment in the cooking simulation franchise Cooking Mama, was officially published by Planet Digital Partners for the Nintendo Switch. However, a week later, the game was officially delisted from the Nintendo eShop and all surviving copies were recalled by major retailers, causing some people to speculate that the game has a hidden cryptominer installed into its files.
On April 3, 2020, despite being released, the game was not available in the Nintendo eShop in the United States and Europe, while physical copies of the game could only be found in limited locations and as offers from third-party sellers on Amazon.
A day later, in a /v/ thread dedicated to the game not being available despite the release, an anonymous 4chan user wrote that the game "might have a [cryptocurrency] miner built-in," citing a "hotshot in the Switch homebrew scene". The thread received over 530 replies, with the post gaining 17 replies.
A day later, the rumour of Cooking Mama: Cookstar having cryptomining code built into it reached Twitter. On that day, Twitter user @Gay_Furby posted the earliest known viral post about the claims, with the tweet gaining over 2,900 retweets and 9,700 likes. Later on the same day, Twitter user @MorshuMmm posted a screenshot of a Discord message that received over 9,500 retweets and 21,900 likes.
On the same day that the controversy reached its peak, several Twitter users, including @itssimontime and @Wunkolo, stated that the game analysis showed no indication that the game contains malicious code and that even if it does have it, it'd be literally useless as the Switch is way too weak to even support the most basic cryptominer. Later on the same day, the game's developer 1st Playable Productions stated that despite the developers previously exploring options for implementation of blockchain technology into the game, the game did not use crypto-based technology and that it was pulled from the eShop due to an ongoing dispute between it and Office Create Corp., the creator and previous owner of the franchise.
A day later, one of the developers working on the game, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed in an exclusive interview with ScreenRant that the crypto-currency mining rumours around the game were false, alleging this was just "fancy language" used by the publishers.
"The statement about crypto-currency was all buzz words. The head of Planet Entertainment knows very little about these things ... he just put some fancy language to get potential investors who like that stuff.", he said.
He also revealed that during the ongoing dispute between its publisher Planet Digital and Office Create, the former published the game on its release day anyway without giving 1st Playable time to polish and debug it. This naturally made the latter infuriated and forcing them to recall all digital and physical copies of the game.
A cryptominer is a virus that steals CPU processing resources using the vulnerablilites of the hardware.