The gaming industry has been predicated on information to encourage people to get excited about their games.
However, developers have been the victims of leaks that spoil their plans for years. Now it appears that one of the biggest developers is fighting back.
For years, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have been on the opposite end of leaks of the “Pokemon” game series. Entire roster lists, secrets and stories all have been leaked to various online message boards and websites. More recently, these leaks are broadcasted on Twitter. With the latest release in the series, “Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield,” Nintendo has made it a point to seek out any and all leakers.
What happens to the leakers? They are met with a hefty lawsuit
Portuguese Nintendo news site FNintendo recently had its ties cut when a freelance reporter released photos from the unreleased games this past February. This cost the freelancer his job and FNintendo a critical partnership.
A release from FNintendo following the blacklisting reads, “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.”
Following this event, prolific Nintendo leakers Zippo and Sabi have denounced leaking information about “Pokemon” and Nintendo for the foreseeable future. Sabi took to his Discord server to announce the news to his friends and fans, citing that in 2019, Nintendo lawyers had called him and sent him a cease and desist letter.
One of the biggest Nintendo leakers, who went by RyanRocks, was caught by the FBI. He now must pay back $259,323 for the damage he has caused to the Nintendo and their associated companies.
The focus on Nintendo leaks stems from a prolonged release of information about their upcoming titles. For example, Nintendo had released a teaser for a new “Animal Crossing” game for the Nintendo Switch during 2018’s E3 Expo. No information about the game had been issued for over a year until a release date the following year. That information was leaked by Sabi weeks before 2019’s E3 Nintendo Direct.
Activision, owner of the best-selling “Call of Duty” series, has recently sent a subpoena to Reddit for information about the leaks of its upcoming battle royal mode for “Modern Warfare.” If the leaker is found, it is a guarantee that the publisher will be suing for damages, much like Nintendo.
Again, leaks are not uncommon in the gaming industry, but the increased security and repercussion of leaking is very new.
In an interview by WIRED, an anonymous leaking community member said, “Nintendo has been increasingly aggressive when it comes to combating leaks.”
The leaker also stated that even early last year, the practice wasn’t nearly as dangerous.
Now, with “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” releasing later this month, the Japanese giant is baiting leakers to release any information about its new game.
Speculation about the reason for the increased monitoring of information draws from multiple sources. One reason is that Microsoft and Sony are both releasing new consoles during the holiday season this year. Another is because the Direct series is their primary form of communication to consumers of further information; any news leaks could devastate the impact of their presentation.
Regardless of the reason, Nintendo has made it loud and clear that they will find and stomp out any other leakers of their IPs or plans. The only question now is if the rest of the industry will follow suit.