According to Nintendo, the Switch consoles featured in the operating system and unboxing videos that started leaking onto the internet this last week were stolen by employees from a retailer in the United States and then illegally resold. IGN received the following statement from a Nintendo representative:
"Earlier this week, individuals claimed to prematurely purchase a small number of Nintendo Switch systems from an unspecified retailer. Nintendo has determined these units were stolen in an isolated incident by employees of a U.S. distributor, with one system being illegally resold. The individuals involved have been identified, terminated from their place of employment and are under investigation by local law enforcement authorities on criminal charges.
"Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on March 3, 2017, and we look forward to everyone being able to discover the wonders of the new system for themselves at that time."
IGN received the statement after covering the videos of the leaked Nintendo consoles showing off the user interface and packaging. One video detailed the system's menus and showed the process for creating a new user while another supposedly revealed the system's start-up and configuration process in its entirety. The system's internal storage was also revealed, listed as only 25.9 GB which is lower than the reported 32GB of internal memory Nintendo claims – likely that missing 6.1 GB accounts for the operating system.
The theft of the consoles isn't exactly surprising. Once the videos started showing up, it was either at the whim of reviewers deciding to violate the information embargo, or because employees stole the consoles. And really, it could only have been through theft. That it was indeed because of theft is less surprising than it is disappointing.