That screenshot alleged that, while running, the game is “Usiing your system to mine Crypto Currency and potentially handig your personal info as well [sp]“. Cryptocurrency mining (a.k.a. cryptomining) is a process of authenticating cryptocurrency payments, earning a small payment in the process – if true, this would mean your Switch hardware was being used to earn money for a third party. A reply to that original message includes a series of follow-up details, some of which are drawn from IGN’s report, and several of which are provably false.
We looked at these options as a means to allow players to trade in-game assets. However, we only explored the theory behind the concept, not the implementation. 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
Following that tweet, both developer 1st Playable and publisher Planet Entertainment (through the Cookstar Twitter account) have refuted the allegation. Tweeting for the first time since 2017, 1st Playable explained: “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.”
The Cookstar Twitter account echoed the same point, and referred to a much-discussed 2019 press release that indicated publisher Planet Entertainment did aim to add blockchain technology to its games, including Cooking Mama – a goal it says never came to fruition.
“We looked at these options as a means to allow players to trade in-game assets”, reads a follow-up tweet. “However, we only explored the theory behind the concept, not the implementation. Cooking Mama: Cookstar, nor any of our other titles in the past or near future will utilize crypto technology.”
Cooking Mama: Cookstar Screenshots
Independent sources have supported the developer and publisher’s statements. Several Twitter users that reverse engineer games have reported that the game contains no code related to blockchain or cryptomining. IGN has verified with players that do own the game that claims of it causing the Switch to overheat also appear to be false, although battery drain does seem to be an issue (this could be down to any number of factors, however). Cookstar can also be played offline, contrary to claims that it was an always-online game to allow for background cryptomining.
This controversy has also has helped clear up some of the previous confusion around Cooking Mama: Cookstar, primarily who made the game, and its connection to blockchain technology. However, aside from acknowledging “distribution issues”, neither developer or publisher has addressed why the game was pulled from Nintendo eShop in the first place. IGN has, once again, reached out for comment.