Flashback: The Nintendo NX Leak That (Almost) Fooled The World 1
Image: Frank Sandqvist

We're perhaps only months away from seeing Nintendo's new console in the flesh, and given the success of the Switch, it's understandable that there will be a lot of interest in seeing the direction the company takes with its successor.

However, there are lessons to be learned from the past here. Back in 2016, the world was waiting with equally bated breath for the 'Nintendo NX' – the machine that would hopefully make up for the commercial failure of the Wii U.

When there's intense speculation and hype without an official unveiling, you often see elaborate hoaxes appear – and that's exactly what happened eight years ago.

The first image showed a controller which was almost entirely dominated by a screen. The fuzzy photo immediately triggered doubts, despite the fact that it was clearly based on a legitimate patent secured by Nintendo in 2015.

Flashback: The Nintendo NX Leak That (Almost) Fooled The World 2

Then, a second photo appeared which was a lot more persuasive. It showed the same controller, powered off this time, sitting on a desk, complete with a reassuring 'CONFIDENTIAL PROPERTY' sticker on the bottom.

The clean, detailed image showed no sign of digital manipulation or visual trickery, and, due to the fact that it seemed to be the same pad in the previous 'leak', it convinced some that it was the real deal – until the person behind it, Frank Sandqvist, went public to state that he had created a physical version of the original Photoshopped image.

As Nintendo Life's Thomas Whitehead noted at the time:

The second leak, the black controller, for a brief moment had me and others in the Nintendo Life team fearful it was the real deal, but even after we then saw information to prove it was fake, we were still unsure of what to make of it. The photos weren't manipulated and were of a high quality, so what was going on?

Sandqvist's amazing work clearly had a few people rattled, and had he not been kind enough to out it as a hoax, we imagine it would have continued to fool the gaming world until Nintendo made its official announcement of the Switch.

We're actually shocked that we haven't already seen a repeat of this situation in relation to Switch 2; while there have been plenty of reports relating to its design (and some nice concept work by fans), nobody has actually given us a convincing fake – yet.

Could we see a viable hoax appear in the next few weeks? Perhaps someone will just lazily ask AI to create one, as that seems to be the current tiresome trend? Let us know your thoughts with a comment below.