Nintendo has publicly outed a fan site called FNintendo as the leakers that spread sensitive information about Pokémon Sword and Shield prior to the game’s release. FNintendo had been given a copy of the game for review purposes under a strict embargo, and a review for the outlet decided to break this legally binding agreement by sharing confidential information about the game without Nintendo’s permission.
Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have made a very public join statement blacklisting FNintendo and explaining how this situation came to pass. The statement begins like so: “In early November, Nintendo identified a number of photographs taken from game play that revealed multiple new and unannounced Pokémon from Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. These photographs had been posted online and Nintendo, together with The Pokémon Company, quickly identified the person responsible for these leaks, and took immediate action.”
Indeed, it hasn’t taken long for Nintendo to find the culprit. The statement continues: “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.”
So far, this reads like a brutal severing of ties, doesn’t it? The statement goes on to explain why Nintendo is reacting so strongly to this breach: “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.”
The statement from Nintendo and The Pokémon Company concludes like so: “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 editors of FNintendo have also released a statement, on their website, confirming that the leak came from their outlet. The statement confirms that FNintendo is cutting ties with the reviewer that leaked the information. The statement ends with an apology to Nintendo and to the site’s readers.
In an age where more and more information seems to leak out about games through unofficial channels, this public blow from Nintendo seems to represent the gaming industry’s attempt to take back control of the flow of information. Only time will tell if it works.
And you can be sure, for the upcoming Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, that Nintendo will be giving out its review codes very carefully. It will also be interesting to see if action is taken against hackers that are splicing missing critters into the game. Whatever happens, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.