Nintendo out and cut ties with Pokémon Sword & Shield leaker

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company were stung by a string of leaks that occured in the run up to the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield last year, helping to rile up the already dissatisfied and vocal side of the Pokémon fanbase in the process. After investigating for the last few months – maybe they set Detective Pikachu on the case? – the companies have now pinpointed the leaker and named and shamed them in a joint statement.

Identified as Portuguese website FNintendo, Nintendo have also given them an F-you, deciding to cut ties and no longer work with them.

Their statement reads:

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.

The real significance of the leak is where it came from. FNintendo had, just like many websites ourselves included, signed NDAs and agreed to embargoes in order to receive early copies of Nintendo’s games and review hardware. While it’s a key part of games journalism to be able to latch onto leaks, sources and gain insider knowledge, a line you don’t cross is breaking those agreements.

For their part, this wasn’t a decision made by FNintendo’s team, but rather one reviewer. They’ve also released a statement, stating that it was their reviewer who leaked the information and that FNintendo have cut ties with that person. However, they acknowledge that this was a breach of their agreement with Nintendo and accept the consequences, apologising to all parties.

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.

When something like this happens it can directly impact Nintendo’s faith in those relationships across the board. That’s bad for fans waiting on reviews, it’s bad for websites working to cover Nintendo’s games in as timely a fashion as possible, and it’s incredibly disheartening for anyone that’s been working on the game, especially when it feeds the overly negative furore that was already swirling around the games.

Source: press release, FNintendo

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