Nintendo recap: Next-gen console predicted for 2024 amid Zelda Switch OLED leaks

Supposed The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Switch OLED leak
(Image credit: iQOO Neo5 Lite on Imgur)

It might only be the first week of January, but we've already seen predictions for what to expect from Nintendo in 2023. According to at least one trusted analyst, the next-gen Nintendo console isn't part of the plan. In other news, there were two developments involving The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, including images of a supposedly leaked Zelda-themed Switch OLED. 

Additionally, Game Freak who is best known as the developer behind the Pokémon series is releasing a revamped version of a cult classic game — but oddly enough, this title isn't coming to Nintendo Switch. It also turns out that the Mario Kart 7 patch that Nintendo released a few weeks ago was for a far more serious problem than we knew about. Let's dive in!

Anaylist predicts next-gen Nintendo console won't release until 2024

Nintendo Switch with Hori Split Pad Pro attached

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

The start of a new year is always an exciting time for Nintendo fans. It feels like anything is possible and we've got a long list of highly-anticipated Switch games coming out in 2023 to look forward to.

Many tech analysts are looking ahead and making predictions on what they expect to come out in the next 12 months, which is the common practice at the start of a new year. As part of this, Gamesindustry.biz (opens in new tab) spoke with a panel of trusted analysts including Piers Harding-Rolls who says he doesn't expect a "next-gen Nintendo console in 2023," but rather has "2024 in our forecasts."

While Harding-Rolls isn't the final say on this matter, it does seem likely that Nintendo would wait to release a new console until The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been out for a while, especially if the leaks are real that Nintendo is producing a Zelda-themed Switch OLED to launch alongside the game (more on that later). 

Falling Link Botw2 Closeup

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Now that we're six years into the Nintendo Switch's life it's getting to the point where Nintendo must seriously be considering when to announce its next-gen console. The hybrid system might be selling well still, but the performance issues of many of the Switch's biggest releases in 2022 show that it's time for a new gaming system or Switch 2. Nintendo's philosophy has long centered on using older technology to provide unique experiences, but the components used in the Switch were already outdated at the time of its release and so the system is really starting to show its age these days. At any rate, it's more than likely that we'll at least get the next-gen console announcement by 2024.

We'll get a better idea of what to expect for Nintendo in 2023 sometime in February as this is often when The Pokémon Company has its Pokémon Presents presentation and Nintendo hosts its first Nintendo Direct of the year. Together these shows give a decent roadmap for what's coming in the next few months and can help us determine when or if big changes are incoming. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom leaks and rumors

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on Switch OLED

(Image credit: iMore)

There were two potential leaks recently regarding The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Considering that we've got about five months to go before the sequel releases on May 12 it's not too surprising that leaks and rumors for this highly-anticipated game are already ramping up. 

Zelda Tears of the Kingdom Switch OLED leak

Supposedly leaked Zelda Switch OLED

(Image credit: iQOO Neo5 Lite on Imgur)

On December 30th, a Famiboards user posted supposedly leaked images of a Tears of the Kingdom Switch OLED (opens in new tab) they purportedly found on the Chinese forum, Tieba (thanks, My Nintendo News (opens in new tab)). 

These images show a white Switch OLED dock with the iconic Royal Crest — complete with Triforce and wings — printed in a golden hue in the center of the dock. The Joy-Cons appear to have a similar gold on the front with turquoise designs on the left side akin to the weird look of Link's arm in the Tears of the Kingdom trailers. On the right Joy-Con and back side of the Switch, there are ripple patterns reminiscent of the motif found in shrines. However, the backsides of the Joy-Con halves aren't gold, but white with small golden designs near the bottom.  

It's honestly hard to say if this is a true leak or if it's just someone's way of getting attention. However, considering that Tears of the Kingdom is one of the most anticipated Switch games this year it only makes sense that Nintendo will release a limited edition Switch OLED around the same time as the game like it did with the Splatoon 3 Switch OLED and the Scarlet and Violet Switch OLED. In my own opinion, the boring look of this design is so uninspired that it feels like it could be real. 

Even if it is real, this could simply be a prototype or an early version of a Switch OLED version rather than what actually comes out later this year. With any luck, the Zelda Switch OLED that does come out will look much better than this one. 

Zelda Tears of the Kingdom ad shows Nintendo Switch Online functionality

Zelda and Link

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The day before the purported Zelda-themed Switch OLED leak, the internet grew excited when u/Few_Working3350 (opens in new tab) on Reddit posted an image of an advertisement for Tears of the Kingdom that showed that the upcoming game will have some kind of Nintendo Switch Online functionality (thanks, GameRant (opens in new tab)). 

online_functionality_for_tears_of_the_kingdom from r/NintendoSwitch

This of course, got fans talking about possible multiplayer in the sequel, whether that means exploring and fighting together or getting some kind of interactive experience where players can leave messages for each other like they can in Elden Ring. Fans have long hoped for a multiplayer Hyrule experience as we've seen with the many fan-made Breath of the Wild multiplayer mods that have released over the last few years. 

While I would love for multiplayer to be part of this sequel, Nintendo Switch Online is probably simply there for cloud saves and backing up game data. It's clearly visible on the right side of the leaked ad that this is a single-player game in all modes and an online multiplayer option isn't likely. However, it is still possible that Nintendo could surprise us with new features for the game since we don't really know much about it yet. With any luck, we'll learn more about the sequel in February with the year's first Nintendo Direct.

Zelda amiibo reprints appear to be incoming

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild amiibo — Princess Zelda, Archer Link, Guardian, Link Rider, and Bokoblin

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Anyone who collects amiibo knows that Zelda amiibo are some of the rarest and most expensive Nintendo NFC collectibles out there. This is partially due to their fantastic designs and partially because Breath of the Wild offered some of the best amiibo rewards of any Switch game. For example, the ability to unlock Epona the horse from Ocarina of Time or being able to make Wolf Link fight alongside you. 

Due to this precedent, many fans have wondered if the sequel will also use amiibo. Thanks to some new information, it's looking like this could be the case.

On Tuesday, a French e-commerce site called Fnac (opens in new tab) had a large list of Zelda amiibo preorders go live on their site (thanks, Nintendo Wire). This included basically all of the Zelda amiibo ever made with only the newest Zelda Loftwing, champions, Shiek, and Ganondorf missing from the list. 

There currently has been no indication that these Zelda amiibo will appear at any other retailers, but chances are high that at least some of them will if they have shown up here.  This also likely means there is amiibo functionality in Tears of the Kingdom if Nintendo is making reprints. With any luck, this means we'll be getting announcements for brand new Zelda amiibo as well. I really want to get one with long-haired Link in his toga. 

Fire Emblem Engage is going back to its combat roots

Fire Emblem Engage: Key art

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Fire Emblem Engage is set to release in a couple of weeks on January 20, 2023 and previews for the game have already gone up on various media sites. Previewers had mostly positive things to say with the general consensus being that Engage is going back to focusing more on strategic battles than Fire Emblem : Three Houses did. 

One of the ways it shifts focus militaristically is by going back to the triangle combat system where sword beats axe, axe beats lance, and lance beats sword. Additionally, it seems that several warrior classes that haven't been used in recent FE games are returning. 

If you're the kind of person who like to think strategically with tactical turn-based RPGs then you really ought to consider checking Engage out when it launches. 

Mario Kart 7 patch fixed a major problem

Mario Kart 7

(Image credit: Nintendo)

A few weeks ago, I talked about how strange it was that Mario Kart 7 got an update after 10 years without receiving any patches. Well, now some new information has come to light that shows that this update was more important than we initially knew as it fixed a very serious vulnerability. 

According to @Pablomf6 on Twitter who was one of three users who reported the issue to Nintendo's HackerOne program, the patch fixed "a severe vulnerability in many first party 3DS, Wii U and Switch games. [The vulnerability] allows remote code execution in a victim console by just having an online game session with an attacker." They went on to say, "Combined with other OS exploits, this vulnerability could allow an attacker to achieve full console takeover, and steal sentitive [sic] information or take audio/video recordings." The thread goes on to explain that  @Pablomf6 received a "$1,000 bounty" for reporting this issue to Nintendo. 

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Considering that Mario Kart 7 offers online and local wireless multiplayer, this exploit could have made it very easy for nefarious persons to steal your information or take recordings simply by playing a round with you. So it's good to see that Nintendo made the game safer for players, even if it is an older title.

Game Freak game heading to Apple Arcade and not Switch

We got some strange news this week when we learned that the primary developers of the Pokémon series are releasing a new version of  the cult classic 3DS game, Pocket Card Jockey — but not on Nintendo Switch (thanks, VGC (opens in new tab)). According to a trademark filed by Game Freak this new version with revamped visuals is coming strictly to iOS users via Apple Arcade in the form of Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!

While not the biggest title Game Freak has released, Pocket Card Jockey does have a cult following and is rated highly on Metacritic with an 83 Metascore. The basic idea is horse racing mixed with Solitaire for a very familiar-yet-satisfying experience. The Apple Arcade version has been reworked to function on one screen rather than the dual screen of the 3DS.

It's possible that the game could also come to Nintendo Switch in the future, but as of right now, there is no proof of that being in the works. At any rate, it seems odd that Game Freak chose to release this revamped version as an Apple Arcade game rather than bringing it to Switch, but the reasoning for that is unknown at this time. 

A new year for Nintendo

There are many exciting things in store for Nintendo fans in 2023. Of course, there's the buzz around Tears of the Kingdom which isn't just one of the most highly-anticipated Switch games but is also one of the most highly-anticipated video games of this year regardless of platform. We're bound to get more leaks and rumors as we draw closer to this game's release, which will give us a better idea of what to expect from the sequel. Hopefully, we get more details with the year's first Nintendo Direct, which usually comes in February.

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.