Back in November 2019, ahead of the Pokémon Sword and Shield releases, a series of leaks made their way online. Whilst the internet was raging over “Dexit”, Nintendo was hard at work getting ready for the upcoming releases.
Obviously, any leaks ahead of the game’s release could fundamentally undermine the appeal of new and elusive Pokémon. After all, part of the appeal of a new generation of creatures is not knowing what you’re going to get.
The leaks, therefore, disturbed this natural order of things. And Nintendo made the culprits known and suffer.
One of the companies involved, FNintendo, has even been blacklisted by Nintendo.
To defend themselves for why they broke Nintendo’s trust, FNintendo released a statement. FNintendo received early copies of Sword and Shield. These copies were for the purpose of analysis and preview.
This is nothing new in games journalism. We here at ABG have the same scenario with several indie developers.
Nintendo Used EMBARGO…
FNintendo (and other sites) had a strict embargo placed on them. Unfortunately, the person FNintendo trusted these copies with went on to leak the information. Because the freelancer was working for FNintendo, they, ultimately, are responsible for the leaks
“We recognise that it is unacceptable to violate the embargo guidelines and that we have not handled the materials for analysis with due care. We fully respect Nintendo’s decision to cancel the confidentiality agreement between our companies as a result of this breach of trust and accept that we will no longer receive Nintendo products or be invited to participate in its events”.
However, it isn’t just online publications that have been feeling Nintendo’s wrath over Pokémon Sword/Shield leaks. There is (at least) one ongoing lawsuit. A Seattle judge even issued a subpoena against Discord, Reddit, and 4chan users. The judge asked that users forfeited any and all information pertaining to the leaks.
Nintendo Used BANISH
To further the impact that these leaks have had, both Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have issued the following statement;
“In early November, Nintendo identified a number of photographs taken from gameplay that revealed multiple new and unannounced Pokémon from Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. These photographs had been posted online. Nintendo, together with The Pokémon Company, quickly identified the person responsible for these leaks, and took immediate action.
These Pokémon were leaked by a reviewer for the Portuguese website FNintendo, who had received an early copy of the game for review purposes. Both he and FNintendo failed to handle confidential material, resulting in a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between Nintendo and the media outlet. As a result, Nintendo will no longer work with FNintendo.
Nintendo will always protect its intellectual property and brands. Leaks hurt not just Nintendo, but the thousands of employees who work hard to bring games to market, and the millions of fans around the world who look forward to news and surprises.
To surprise and delight players through new experiences is a shared passion for Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. We will pursue all avenues to preserve surprises for players of future Pokémon titles.”via Eurogamer
This is perhaps the most aggressive a publisher has come down on a leaker. It isn’t hard to see why Nintendo would so vehemently defend one of their signature IPs. Especially considering Sword/Shield sold in excess of 16 million copies within its first six weeks.
The two games have already eclipsed other recent Pokémon games (both Let’s Go! versions and Sun and Moon). With the upcoming expansion pass, it looks as though Pokémon Sword/Shield might go on to become one of the Switch’s best exclusive games.
Still doesn’t mean everyone is entirely happy with Nintendo’s conduct as of late though.
Make sure you stick with Any Button Gaming for the latest gaming news and features from around the world. To hear more of our latest updates, why not follow us on social media? We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.