While The Pokemon Company has had much to celebrate over the last week or so, the last few months have been far less kind. In the run-up to the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield, the company took a "less is more" marketing approach, giving few details about the new Pokemon fans could expect to see in the Galar region. Unfortunately, that strategy proved to be for naught. Starting on November 1st, leakers revealed nearly every detail about the games, including every new and returning creature, the game's story beats and more. With the National Dex controversy in full swing at the same time, morale at Game Freak reportedly hit an all-time low.
Since then, Pokemon Sword and Shield released to rave reviews and record-setting sales. The company has not forgotten about the leakers, however. On Friday, The Pokemon Company International posted a lawsuit against John/Jane Does 1-3. The Pokemon Company International does not know the specific identities of the leakers, though forensics experts have been able to identify the Discord users allegedly responsible for the leaks, including the main culprit, who got the images from a strategy guide for the games. Court documents posted by Forbes allege a conspiracy among the leakers to slowly release pages from the strategy guide in order to gain the most traction. In order to identify the leakers, The Pokemon Company is asking the courts to subpoena Discord and 4chan.
It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit plays out. Perkins Coie, the lawfirm representing The Pokemon Company, alleges the leakers caused "irreparable injury." Given the strong sales of Sword and Shield, that might be difficult to prove in court. Regardless, it's clear that publishers are taking leaks far more seriously than they ever have before. How the courts decide to proceed will set the standard for the industry moving forward.
No matter what the courts decide, fans are the ones who were truly harmed by the leaks. The images leaked by Discord and 4chan were shared by hundreds of websites, and across social media. As a result, many gamers that wanted to be surprised by the games found themselves spoiled prior to release. At the very least, one can hope that the lawsuit will dissuade others from spoiling games before their release.
Have you picked up Pokemon Sword and Shield yet? Was your enjoyment of the games lessened by the leaks? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!