PSA: Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Leaks Online

Arguably Nintendo’s biggest release of the year, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, has leaked online.

What Happened: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo Switch has been leaked online.

  • The latest Zelda game is currently being shared on various websites and social media platforms.
  • Tears of the Kingdom is due for release officially on May 12, 2023.
  • The version is likely an early copy that has been dumped via a hacked Nintendo Switch console.

What’s Happening: Several people who acquired the game have begun spreading spoilers online. 

  • Fans are already seeing leaked in-game screenshots pop up on sites like Reddit.
  • People attempting to stream the game on sites like Twitch and Kick are having their streams forcefully closed.
  • On Twitch, a message reads “Content from this channel has been removed at the request of the copyright holder [Nintendo].”
  • Streaming copyrighted content prior to release may be a terms of service breach depending on the platform. 

The Legality: As there is no way to play Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom without dumping it yourself, any downloading of the game is likely to be illegal. 

  • Downloading games is illegal in most countries. 
  • Ripping games yourself, however, is not illegal in most countries.
  • Nintendo has been known to lawyer up when the company’s games are being pirated.
  • In a high-profile case, Nintendo took Gary Bowser to court for his part in a piracy group.
  • Bowser was sentenced to 40 months in prison and agreed to pay Nintendo $14.5 million dollars in restitution.

Current Performance: At the time of writing, users report that the game runs poorly when emulated, especially on Steam Deck.  

  • On Ryujinx, the game runs at 20 to 30 frames per second. 
  • On Yuzu, attempting to launch the game results in a crash. 
  • Given the popularity of the title, it’s worth holding off until launch day to give the emulator’s developers a chance to fix the performance issues. 

How to Stay Safe: Given how previous leaks work, avoiding social media websites is the safest way to avoid spoilers. 

  • Twitter has an advanced muting function for specific words and phrases.
  • On Instagram, avoid clicking on any Zelda-related hashtags. 
  • Check your social media platform’s settings menu to see how you can mute phrases. 
  • Remove any gaming channels from your feed temporarily. 

In the meantime, maybe stick with modding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Steam Deck via a Wii U emulator if you’re not looking to start a fight with Nintendo’s lawyers. 

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.