Ever wondered the lengths a game publisher goes to to keep details about the game secret? Well, the Pokemon Company may have inadvertently revealed the exact steps they take in an attempt to stop information leaking out prior to release.
In this day and age, there is as much hype before a game is released as there is after it. This particularly true for Pokemon games where the whole community speculates as to what the latest version will include.
It's an ongoing battle between consumer and publisher whereby Pokemon trainers (at least some of them) are trying to find out as much as they can about the game. On the other hand, the Pokemon Company are trying to keep everything secret so they can release details in a marketable way.
Promotion is carefully planned
They believe this maximizes fan interest in the game and increases sales, also. The Pokemon Company filed a lawsuit on November 22, 2019 against unnamed defendants for leaking details from the, at the time, unreleased official Pokemon Sword and Shield strategy guide.
The document shows just how important the marketing stage of a Pokemon game is. "[The Pokemon Company] derives significant economic value from maintaining the secrecy of details of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield and the Strategy Guide prior to the games' release," section 29 of the document states. "The company's and its partners' carefully planned and timed publicity stokes a swell of media interest and fan enthusiasm that results in a substantial number of players purchasing the games."
How the Pokemon Company keeps its secrets
The same lawsuit also details just how thorough and extensive the Pokemon Company is in attempting to prevent details from getting out ahead of schedule, too. It states that the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield information (and presumably details from past games as well) is treated with the utmost secrecy.
If you thought that it was simply a case of signing a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and keeping an eye on anyone who comes into contact with the details, then think again. The process of protecting secrets sounds more like something from Mission Impossible than a child-friendly video game.
These are the methods the Pokemon Company utilize in order to protect secrets:
- Background checks on employees
- Store game content files on secure computers
- Restrict access to game working files to a limited number of individuals (username and password)
- Can only transfer said files using secure methods
- Use digital measures to trace and mark files to prevent unauthorized access
- Sign NDAs
- Access to the Pokemon Company offices are restricted by key card
It's no wonder Pokemon Sword and Shield leaks were few and far between prior to release. Given the stringent steps they have in place, it's also no surprise that the leaks that did materialize were nothing more than anonymous forum posts.
If there is one thing we can learn from this it is that the Pokemon Company takes details surrounding their upcoming games, and subsequent marketing strategy, very seriously.