Nintendo Seems Determined to Send a Message in Punishing Pokemon Sword and Shield Leakers

Nintendo Seems Determined to Send a Message in Punishing Pokemon Sword and Shield Leakers

Nintendo does not forgive, Nintendo does not forget.

Pokemon Sword and Shield generated a lot of discussion leading up to its release, partially around various leaks of Pokemon that would be coming to the Galar region. At the time, The Pokemon Company was trying to find whoever let the info get out, and today, it's announced that the leaker has been found and punished.

Last November, a number of photographs of gameplay revealing several unannounced Pokemon found their way online. The Pokemon Company filed suit and even pressed to subpoena forums like 4chan and Discord to find the source of the leaks. Today, it confirmed that a reviewer for Portuguese website FNintendo, which had received an early copy of the game, were the source.

"Both he and FNintendo failed to handle confidential material, resulting in a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between Nintendo and the media outlet," Nintendo and The Pokemon Company said in a statement (via Eurogamer). "As a result, Nintendo will no longer work with FNintendo."

Nintendo and The Pokemon Company say they "quickly identified" the person responsible and took "immediate action." The statement goes on to make an assertion: "To surprise and delight players through new experiences is a shared passion for Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. We will pursue all avenues to preserve surprises for players of future Pokemon titles."

The message is fairly clear: don't leak our games. It's a pretty bizarre situation, given review copies frequently come with embargo terms that are agreed upon by both parties. But it's rare to see the outlet publicly outed in this way, with a flat statement that the publisher will no longer work with the site. Past leaks have usually been more quietly dealt with, though it can carry some ripple effects for coverage from other outlets.

FNintendo published a statement owning up to its reviewer's actions and taking responsibility by severing its professional relationship with said writer. "Our relationship with Nintendo Portugal dates back 11 years," FNintendo writes. "But our part in this leak is a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between us, and, as a result, a total breach of trust with Nintendo."

Pokemon Sword and Shield has been out since November, with a pair of expansions due for later this year. You can read our full review here.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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