Prior to Nintendo’s official announcement, rumors of a Tears of the Kingdom special-edition OLED Switch release were kindled by a supposed “leak.” Photos from a GameStop inventory database showing a new Nintendo Switch SKU were taken the morning before Eiji Aonuma’s scheduled Tears of the Kingdom gameplay showcase and subsequently shared online, leading many to assume to that the announcement of a Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch was an inevitability. Following an investigation into the matter, GameStop has since fired the employee who shared those photos.

This leak is unrelated to a prior leak that occurred last December, in which photos of the Tears of the Kingdom OLED Switch itself and its packaging were shared online.

In an interview with Kotaku, the employee in question (referred to simply as “Mike” for privacy reasons) relayed his experience. Mike claims that he didn’t think much of sharing the images at first, since they didn’t include any details or information regarding the product. He says that he was called into a meeting with a pair of supervisors, where he was asked if he was responsible for the leak. Mike confessed immediately, but maintained that he did not know that it violated store policy. He was placed on a brief suspension before being terminated on April 11th.

Interestingly, Mike says that the manager who informed him of his termination implicated Nintendo in a push toward that decision. He was informed “off the record” that Nintendo had forced their hand and demanded Mike’s firing. The initial suspension and claims from other employees of Mike’s excellence at GameStop have led many to see Nintendo’s influence as the deciding factor in the termination. While it is difficult to confirm for certain, Nintendo’s involvement would come as no surprise.

Nintendo’s choke-hold-level protection of their intellectual property is nothing new. They’ve spent decades attacking any unofficial source of access to their products, despite not making those products available for legitimate purchase. Nintendo also attempts to maintain tight control over information regarding their franchises. Most recently, they’ve filed a subpoena in California to obtain the personal information of a Discord user who leaked the Tears of the Kingdom art book that will be included in the Collector’s Edition of the upcoming game. It is understandable to want to maintain the integrity of an intellectual property, but I think the vindictive retaliations are what make Nintendo look bad in these scenarios.

What do you think? Was the GameStop employees’ firing justified? Is Nintendo overbearing with regard to controlling their IP? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Kotaku

Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to correct initial reporting errors.

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