In the lead up to the release of newest Pokémon game, Sword and Shield, on 15th November 2019, leaks were plentiful and just about every aspect of the game was revealed and analysed before the general public got a chance to play.
Today Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have released a joint statement calling out the source of this – the Portuguese site FNintendo.net.
“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,” the joint statement reads.
While the reviewer was not identified, the pronoun “he” is used, so make of that what you will.
The statement from the two parties goes on to explain that the leaks were “quickly identified” and “immediate action” was taken.
If you were on any form of social media at the time you may have seen accounts reposting these leaks were taken down rather quickly, especially right before the launch of the games.
“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,” the statement concludes.
Whether you agree or disagree with leaks hurting anything, we find this all a bit odd. Judging by the amount of leaks we saw online it really doesn’t seem like it was just one person leaking everything. While that obviously can’t be confirmed or denied right now, the statement from Nintendo and The Pokémon Company seems more like a warning to others who may do the same in the future, rather than a “ladies and gentlemen, we got him” moment.
FNintendo has released a response to this news, which you can read in full here. Thankfully the response is provided in both English and Portuguese.
In short FNintendo admits to the leaks stating that it has cut ties with the reviewer responsible.
“At the beginning of November, a series of off-screen photographs leaked multiple new and unannounced Pokémon from Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. We want to take this opportunity to openly admit to our readers that FNintendo was responsible for leaking some of these photos. Nintendo offered us a copy of the game for review purposes, with clear embargo guidelines, to which we agreed. This copy was then sent to one of our reviewers, who leaked the information. Following the investigation, FNintendo severed its relationship with this reviewer,” the response reads.
Another telling word there is “some”. Again, we do believe that there are other leakers out there, and FNintendo is just the one that got caught.
Putting everything else aside, it’s important to remember that most writers agree to a non-disclosure agreement when they receive something to review. These are legally binding and it’s just dumb to break them, even if you don’t believe that a few leaks will ruin anyone’s enjoyment of a game.