Nintendo fingers rogue reviewer for Pokémon Sword and Shield leaks

No, not Porygon.

Last November, Pokémon Sword and Shield suffered a series of big leaks in the run up to their release.

Before the game was on shop shelves, large swathes of its Pokédex had been posted online, with new designs of old favourite Pokémon available to view on reddit and other such places.

1
Leaked: Galarian Mr. Mime and evolution Mr. Rime were splashed all over the internet.

Now, in February, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have issued a statement on the matter. In short, Nintendo wants you to know it quickly found the culprit behind much of the leaked material: a small Portuguese website named FNintendo it has now severed all ties with.

It's rare for someone with a review copy of a game to break confidentiality in this way. Journalists regularly sign non-disclosure agreements with publishers to receive copies of games prior to their release, with an embargo time agreed upon in advance for coverage to go live.

But it's even rarer for a publisher to come out and publicly point the finger at the site responsible, and openly state it will no longer work with it.

Today's statement speaks to how big a business Pokémon is (enormous, as Pokémon Sword and Shield's eye-opening recent sales figures show) and how protective The Pokémon Company feels over the outlets Nintendo chooses to send review copies to.

There's no suggestion of legal action between Nintendo and FNintendo. But this will serve as a warning ahead of Sword and Shield's upcoming expansions.

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company's statement follows in full:

"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."

FNintendo has subsequently posted its own apology, which admits to its reviewer's actions and states it will no longer work with the person responsible.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

News Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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