In their joint statement on the matter of the Pokemon leaks, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company surprisingly revealed the identity of the offender. After their investigation, the culprit behind the was found to be Spanish website, FNintendo, who was given a copy for review purposes. After finding that it was one of their reviewers who leaked the images, Nintendo will officially no longer be working with FNintendo.
Nintendo’s and The Pokemon Company’s full statement is as follows:
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.
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.
Even in recent times where games, TV and films have been more vulnerable than ever to leaks, a reviewer breaching their non-disclosure agreement like this always comes as a surprise, especially in gaming. The biggest surprise though is a gaming company publicly pointing the finger at a guilty offender in this manner. Looking at Pokemon Sword & Shield’s incredibly strong sales, it becomes easy to understand why. Not only did the two games hit 6 million units in sales in the first week, it went on to sell 16 million copies altogether after 6 weeks on the shelves. If Nintendo’s games are reaching the hands of so many hopeful players, it’s safe to assume they’re tired of leakers spoiling the adventures of those like in Pokemon Sword & Shield for them.
Following the joint statement from Nintendo and The Pokemon Company, FNintendo released their own, admitting their own wrongdoing:
To our readers,
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.
Our relationship with Nintendo Portugal dates back 11 years, but our part in this leak is a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between us, and, as a result, a total breach of trust with Nintendo.
We recognise it is impermissible to break embargo guidelines and we failed to handle the review materials with sufficient 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 products from Nintendo, nor will we be invited to attend their events.
We want to apologise to Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, and to our readers for letting them down.
This public severing of the relationship between Nintendo, The Pokemon Company and FNintendo clearly serves as a big warning to publications and reviewers going forward: “break our trust and you’re gone”.