Update: The offending website has also issued its own statement. We've shared that below our original article.
Original Article (Tue 11th Feb, 2020 09:45 GMT): Building up to the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield last year, certain elements of the game including Pokémon which hadn't yet been revealed were leaked online. Images and information spread like wildfire, and it was painfully easy to accidentally stumble across unreleased content ahead of the games' launch.
Back in November, it was rumoured that Nintendo may have caught the person(s) responsible for the leak, and in the following month, we learnt that The Pokémon Company was taking legal action by filing a lawsuit.
Today, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have shared a joint statement on the matter. You can read it in full below:
Joint statement from Nintendo and The Pokémon Company
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.
Of course, the leaks didn't seem to harm Pokémon Sword and Shield's success in the end. The two titles shifted an amazing 16 million copies in around six weeks.
Update: FNintendo's statement:
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.