The video game industry is shrouded in mystery. Games are only sparsely shown to the public, showcases can happen at a moment's notice, and even entire games can be developed without the public ever knowing about it. This is why there is a culture of paying attention to industry insiders and leakers who allegedly seek to give the public a peak behind the curtain as to what is on the horizon. The latest “leaks” that have the internet abuzz are about an impending Nintendo Direct. There is just one caveat, they are all educated guesses.
Don’t you trust me? — The news of a Nintendo Direct is highly anticipated due to the possibility of learning information on any of the company’s many exciting games coming out. With the release of Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom slated for May 12, 2023 many are hoping that a Nintendo Direct will give more insights into what players can expect from the highly anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild.
In the past week, rumors have begun to spread that the next Nintendo Direct would take place during week of February 6. A redditor posted a thread to the GamingLeaksAndRumours subreddit alleging they had received valid proof that a Direct would take place on February 7.
Similarly, journalist Jeff Grubb said on a February 1 podcast that “everything I’m hearing, it’s all just reiterating it, it continues to be the week of February 6th. Over and over and over again, every little detail I get.”
While Grubb has fostered a reputation for being an insider, he previously claimed he had information that a Metroid Prime remaster as well as ports of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess would be announced during Nintendo’s September 2022 Direct. Neither of those things happened. But maybe they will, someday! People sure like Zelda.
The thing all of these “leaks” have in common is that they give excessive importance to speculation and educated guesses in order to feed an endless hype cycle.
Call me an “insider” but Nintendo will probably hold a Direct in February. How do I know this? Well, I actually don’t. But if you look back over the last dozen or so years, Nintendo always holds a Direct in February, so it stands to reason we will also see one this year. (With 2018 being the only exception, the company has done this every year since 2012, so 10 of the last 11 years.) This isn’t insider information — it is acknowledging an obvious pattern based on publicly available data.
Smoke and Mirrors — The gaming public is so ravenous for leaks and rumors with a hint of authority, however. This leads to “insiders’ claiming to have special information when really, they are just as clueless as everybody else.
The thread suggesting a February 7 Direct has since been taken down by r/GamingLeaksAndRumours. A post clarifying the move said, “If this turned out to be true, this would obviously be a very valuable source for the sub in the future after getting something like this right. However, we're not confident in this at all.”
When leaks don’t pan out, “insiders” often insist that a developer or publisher has changed its plans at the last minute. And perhaps that is true, sometimes. But almost certainly not as often as some folks would like you to think.
A larger issue with so-called leaks and rumors in the industry is that it contributes to a hype cycle that is already harmful to developers. When fans feel betrayed by the lack of a promised announcement, they rarely express disappointment with the “insider” — they take it out on the developers working on whatever game they felt entitled to hearing about. We saw this exact situation play out with God of War Ragnarok in the months leading up to its release.
But yes, we’re probably going to hear more about Tears of the Kingdom sometime between now and May. My uncle works at Nintendo and he told me.