The Pokemon Company International (PCI) have settled their lawsuit against two leakers in exchange for $150,000 USD in damages; after they leaked images from Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield from a strategy guide prior to launch.
In 2019, lawyers working on behalf of the PCI sought damages for the “irreparable injury” caused by one to three leakers. Perkins Coie argued that the leaking of images of several then-unreleased Pokemon via an official strategy guide- which PCI and Game Freak were attempting to keep them a surprise for players- was akin to stealing trade secrets.
Some on social media sided against PCI, arguing that the success of the games (selling 17.37 million units as of May 2020 and prior to the release of the expansion pass) meant any damage was minimal. In March of this year, the Pokemon franchise achieved $100 billion USD in lifetime sales; surpassing Star Wars and Marvel.
The push back against the PCI may also have been due the poor reaction to Sword and Shield from initial screenshots, information, and gameplay [1, 2, 3], the leaked images, and ultimately players themselves on release [1, 2].
Nonetheless, court documents filed on July 22nd (as reported by Polygon) reveal that the PCI has settled the case against the two leakers, along with details of the case. David Andiono Maisonave was an employee of LSC Communications, who were hired to print the strategy guide.
Maisonave took pictures from this guide and shared it with his friend Bryan Garcia Cruz via Discord; who then proceeded to leak them further to the internet. While completely red-handed, the PCI has settled for both the leakers playing $150,000 USD each in damages and attorney fees.
We suspect this will not be the last time a Pokemon game is leaked however. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl were leaked a month prior to their official announcement; thanks to subdomains diamondpearl.pokemon.com and legends.pokemon.com briefly going live for a short time. The latter would be for the announcement of Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are available on Nintendo Switch. In case you missed it, you can find our review here, our Isle of Armor expansion review here, and The Crown Tundra expansion review here.