Nintendo Hands Out 'Zelda' Items Via Switch News App

Nintendo gave Switch owners another reason to use the console's News app: getting free loot in games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All you have to do is check the News app for Breath of the Wild tips, press a button, and return to the game to collect your new items.

The News app previously did exactly what you'd expect it to by collecting the latest updates from Nintendo into one stream you could access right on your Switch. This gave Nintendo a good place to hawk its latest wares, offered you an easy way to keep up with the company's announcements, and gave third-party developers another way to get the word out about their games, too. But that only works if people want to use the News app, and it's not hard to imagine many Switch owners ignoring the stream of Nintendo announcements in favor of simply playing games on the console.

Distributing in-game items could help News get more attention. That experiment starts with a new channel for Breath of the Wild that promises to offer tips for exploring Hyrule. "People have already found all sorts of things to do in the game," game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi said in the channel's first post, "but maybe you will learn something new." The items given away will help you act on those tips when you head back into the game. You could read an article about a particular recipe, Fujibayashi said, and get "a few of the ingredients to get you started." Easy breezy.

Those free items help separate the News app from other sources of information. You can't receive free items from a walkthrough, forum, or wiki, so if the new Breath of the Wild channel offers useful advice, you might be more likely to get help from Nintendo instead of relying on other sources. This would require you to use News more often, too, and Nintendo likely hopes that you'll check out articles related to other titles while you're seeking help in saving Princess Zelda. (It also keeps you on your Switch instead of making you use other devices when you get stuck.)

We wouldn't be surprised to see this setup expand to other Switch titles over time. Breath of the Wild is an obvious starting point because it's an expansive, single-player game in which free items don't confer advantages over other players. This would be harder to balance in competitive titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, and Splatoon 2, where items gained via the News app could give some players a leg up. Giving away items with this method also side-steps the issue of locking content behind Amiibo, which you have to buy separately, because News is on every Switch.

You can receive free items via the News app if you play the latest version of Breath of the Wild on the Switch. This feature seems unlikely to head to the Wii U version of the game, so if you somehow haven't decided on which release to get, this is another factor to keep in mind.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • Jayson_15
    We use a ton of Chromebooks in education. I'm curious if they are being deployed in business environments?
  • Burstaholic
    I just hate that News is not time-ordered. Why are new important announcements always listed below months-old "Happy Brother's Day" fluff?

    Gotta EARN your current news by hunting for it *eyeroll*