Following the Pokemon Sword and Shield leaks ahead of the game's release in November 2019, Nintendo have outed the publication responsible. The question is though, how will this affect the build up to future Pokemon games?
The publisher in question is FNintendo, a relatively small website from Portugal. As a result Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have unsurprisingly severed all ties with them.
Pokemon Company and Nintendo statement
Both Nintendo and the Pokemon Company released a joint statement addressing the news: "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."
The statement goes on to reveal FNintendo received an early copy of Pokemon Sword and Shield for review purposes. As a result of the publication actually being sent an early copy, they had to sign a confidentiality agreement, which they broke.
The statement concluded by saying: "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."
It will come as no surprise that Nintendo already have strict steps in place to prevent leaks from surfacing. Unfortunately for them though, it didn't stop this particular leak. Given the breach of confidentiality it's clear this would have been difficult to avoid, however.
In response to the statement, FNintendo released their own: "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 products from Nintendo, nor will we be invited to attend their events." You can read the statement in its entirety here.
How will this affect future Pokemon releases?
The morality of leaks is a hotly contested subject. There's also a divide between gamers as to whether they are beneficial, too.
While some players enjoy getting the game's information ahead of time, there are others who get upset by them as they ruin the game ahead of time. The leaks take away many surprises a lot of players crave so they are an understandable bone of contention.
One player shared this sentiment saying: "I absolutely loved the mystery of discovering all the new mons this gen." He went on to say that the suppression of information was a potential factor in the apparent desperation to find the leaks before it released.
Yea, I absolutely loved the mystery of discovering all the new mons this gen..
granted my one criticism to the marketing for gen 8 was they suppressed a little to much and that seem to have drove folks to leak a little worse than usual.
— Rune_Script (@Runeart13) February 11, 2020
This latest saga will only lessen the chances of leaks ahead of whatever the next Pokemon game will be. Not only will Nintendo be more cautious but publications which do have access of the game's content ahead of time will also be far more hesitant to reveal any details.
It's a shame for the teams behind Pokemon Sword and Shield as they clearly put a lot of effort into leaving as many surprises as possible. There were complaints in the build up to Pokemon Sun and Moon that too much was revealed ahead of the release.
Fortunately for trainers who are looking to the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra Pokemon Sword and Shield expansions, leaks ahead of these are less likely. This is because it's far more difficult to send out review copies ahead of time as it is download only.
We'll have to wait and see how this plays out ahead of the 2020 Pokemon game (if there even is one). Rest assured, though, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company will have stricter protocols in place and websites will be more reluctant than ever following the publicity of this latest fiasco.