Nintendo recap: More Pokémon leaks and what Microsoft's acquisition means for Switch

Pokemon Legends Arceus Starters And Avatars
Pokemon Legends Arceus Starters And Avatars (Image credit: iMore)

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week's Nintendo recap. We're less than a week out from the release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. As has, unfortunately, become common, the full game has already leaked, including all Hisuian variants and the final evolutions for starters. Additionally, we got some huge news in the gaming world when Microsoft announced it was acquiring Activision Blizzard, so we'll be discussing what this means for Nintendo Switch owners. Lastly, Banjo-Kazooie finally made it to Switch and Konami made a pretty penny by selling some NFTs. There's plenty to discuss, so let's dive in.

Castlevania NFTs sell for $160,000 total

Konami Castlevania Holy Water Vs Dracula Nft (Image credit: OpenSea)

Whether you like it or not, NFTs are going to be something you hear about a lot this year. Aside from being relatively shiny and new as companies move towards the metaverse fad, they allow companies to make money without ever really manufacturing anything or even doing much. Case in point, this last weekend Konami put several NFTs up for auction as part of Castlevania's 35th anniversary and was able to garner $160,000 total from the combined sales. You can see the NFTs at OpenSea.

The most valuable of them all proved to be the Castlevania - Holy Water VS Dracula NFT, which is currently up for sale again for $215,779.56 last I checked. Seeing as how NFTs could potentially make for some easy cash and are easy to make, we'll continue to see them selling from various developers as the year goes on. It's unlikely Nintendo will get in on the fad, but developers who make games for the Switch will likely try.

10 Kingdom Hearts games coming to Switch in February

Kingdom Hearts Hercules (Image credit: iMore)

This week, we finally got the release date for the entire Kingdom Hearts series coming to Nintendo Switch cloud streaming. They release on Feb. 10, but demos are available right now on the eShop. The 10 games can be found in three separate collections: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5, 2.8, and 3 + Re Mind. As any Kingdom Hearts fan can tell you, the story is rather complicated and, honestly, convoluted at some points. Fortunately, you don't have to play all Kingdom Hearts games to understand the overarching story, but you'll be lost if you just stick with 1, 2, and 3. You'll want to play in this order: Kingdom Hearts 1, Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, and finally, Kingdom Hearts 3.

Unfortunately, many players who've already tested the demo aren't impressed with the streaming quality and want native ports for the games. This could easily have been done with the older entries, but Kingdom Hearts 3 would have required more work to tone down those graphics and get it running smoothly on Switch.

So why aren't they available locally on Switch? It likely has to do with the file sizes for each collection. Considering the Nintendo Switch only has 32GB of internal storage and the Switch OLED only has slightly more at 64GB, Nintendo makes a concerted effort to keep its games at a smaller size. So the easiest way to get Kingdom Hearts on Switch without spending a ton of money was via cloud streaming. Still, it feels like a pretty cheap move for die-hard Kingdom Hearts fans.

Banjo-Kazooie finally releases on Switch and Majora's Mask incoming

Banjo Kazooie Mumbo Jumbo (Image credit: Rare / Xbox Game Studios)

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack brought an N64 emulator to the portable gaming system and included several notable games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64. We were told last month that Banjo-Kazooie would be coming to the service in January and this Thursday it finally released. I've been revisiting these classic platforming levels and highly recommend anyone who never played this game to try it now. We also learned that The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is coming to the service in February, although no specific date has been given yet.

Of course, the news that Banjo-Kazooie, now owned by Microsoft, was coming to Switch was overshadowed by a much bigger announcement from that same company.

What Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard means for Nintendo

Xbox Phil Spencer 20th Anniversary (Image credit: Microsoft)

This year is already off to a crazy start with some of the biggest news we'll likely get all year. Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a number that most of us cannot even fathom. That means several big franchises will now be owned by Microsoft going forward like Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and many more. Of course, this is all happening amid the Activision Blizzard lawsuit that started July 2021 when employees came forward saying that there was a "fratboy culture" with several accounts of sexual harassment and pay disparity among its female employees.

Bobby Kotick will reportedly step down once the deal has been finalized.

As part of the deal, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will reportedly step down once everything has been finalized. This being such a big acquisition, the deal isn't expected to close until July 2023.

While there aren't a ton of Activision Blizzard games on Nintendo Switch, there are a number of notable ones including Overwatch, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot. Now the question becomes if the relationship between Nintendo and these games will change.

As reported by Bloomberg, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer strove to make it clear that these games would continue to find themselves on various platforms and that Microsoft will, "continue to support those communities moving forward." So while it's possible there will be fewer to no ports from previously Activision Blizzard-owned games on Nintendo consoles, the opposite is also possible. It will take years for these changes to take effect, so there's nothing to worry about in the short term.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus spotted in the wild along with leaks

Pokemon Legends Arceus Starters (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Several people online have reported seeing copies of Pokémon Legends: Arceus on store shelves ahead of the game's official release. As such, some players have started playing this new adventure already and have leaked information online. (This seems to be the trend with Pokémon games recently.) These leaks include all the Hisuian Pokémon and what they look like, along with the final Hisuian evolutions of the three starters.

I don't want to ruin anything so I'll refrain from posting anything here. Just prepare yourself and take extra care if you don't want anything to be spoiled. Some of the other things that have been dumped online are late-game images, mechanics, characters, videos, and even the game files. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set to release next Friday, Jan. 28, so you only have a few more days to hold out for.

That's all for now

There's sure to be plenty to talk about next week, seeing as how Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be releasing. I'm eagerly looking forward to that day and will discuss it next week. Until then, I'll continue reliving my childhood with Banjo-Kazooie.

I hope you all have a great weekend and can play some truly awesome games on Nintendo Switch.

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.