Update: Nintendo Cracks Down on Pokémon Piracy

Monday, October 7th, 2013

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Nintendo | Anti-Piracy

EDITOR’S UPDATE: While the article assumes the leak was a pirated copy of Pokémon X, the reality is it was just an early-bought copy. As we all know, an early copy bought legitimately cannot possibly be piracy. We’re sorry for the mistake, and we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Original article:

Nintendo tends to be pretty proactive at fighting piracy. Throw Pokémon into the mix, and everyone within the vicinity should probably run for cover. Case in point, Pokémon X and Y comes out this Saturday, but, recently, a stray copy of X managed to leak out to one Instagram user, kosthedin. He then posted pictures of the game while answering questions about it on Instagram. Nintendo was not happy.

According to kosthedin’s post, soon after Nintendo sent a representative to the game store that leaked the game to kosthedin. According to kosthedin, the rep said that “heads were rolling at Nintendo because of the leaks.” To minimize the repercussions to the store and the employee that leaked it, who was a friend of his, kosthedin surrendered his copy and took down all the associated images off of his Instagram account. These images can still be found circulating around other video game websites.

Most news about piracy and Nintendo usually involves Nintendo going through legal channels to crack down on organized piracy. Their most recent one was a lawsuit against HackYourConsole.com which sells flashcarts and various other devices for playing pirated games. This is the first story I’ve heard of that targets an individual. Looks like it doesn’t take that much to rouse Nintendo’s ire when it comes to piracy.

Image courtesy of Nintendo

About Karli Winata

Karli Winata is an avid gamer with a taste for a little bit of everything. Except for sports games. And racing sims. And definitely not hidden object games! I guess everything is too broad a term. Suffice it to say that he has been known to play hours of Call of Duty multiplayer in between bouts of Persona fusing and Star Coin collecting while saving the world/galaxy through sensibly bald space marines or plucky teenagers with impossible hairstyles. Where does he find the time to write about them?

  • HansKisaragi

    How is this piracy? Please explain.

  • Sanji Himura

    Seems to me that the store broke street date, so what?

    • James McEneely

      Street dates being broken normally resolve in fines and employee termination. Breaking street date brings the wrath of whoever made the product on your head. If you work retail, it usually means you’re gonna need to find a new job outside of retail.

      These kids got off extremely lucky.

    • madmofo145

      Didn’t used to be that way though, it’s really only been in the last couple years that companies cared about street dates at all. I used to pre-order games mainly because I knew my local EB would often get me the game up to a week early, and with a nice pre-order bonus to boot. I think it’s basically been with the rise of youtube that street dates have become important, and even then only some companies really care, and likely only for some games.

    • James McEneely

      Actually, I recall there being a shitstorm over someone breaking the street date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And then when I was working at a book store for Deathly Hallows, I was told in no uncertain terms that if even ONE of our copies went “missing” it would be an outright termination.

      Sure, nowadays people are all okay with breaking street date (which is not technically illegal, but rather a contractual breach), but it is still, technically, wrong to do so.

    • madmofo145

      Those books were a bit different, and more akin to what we see here. It used to be that the street date for a game was just the day it was supposed to be guaranteed to be out by, and if stores got the games early they were allowed to sell them, I’d even had publishers ship per-ordered games to me before the release date. What is happening with some games like this is companies are trying to avoid spoilers. This is a global release, so if someone gets it early they can spoil it for the whole world, just like what people were worried about with Harry Potter. Everyone wanted to be the first to find out what happened, no one wanted to have it spoiled for them. That’s why you see this as a problem on these big name releases, because one spoiler could effect millions of people. That’s likely why you occasionally see broken street dates on smaller games, as the early release of a game that will only ship 100,000 copies just doesn’t warrant any worry from it’s publisher.

    • Sanji Himura

      The point is that other companies suffer the same thing, Activision the chief among them, but yet they didn’t get as pissy as Nintendo got. Seems to me that it is an overreaction to a common problem.

    • James McEneely

      Another common problem in the US is driving under the influence. Maybe not the same in severity of the outcome, but saying someone is overreacting even though it’s commonplace really isn’t a good argument to try and stand with.

  • Hasao1987

    Very interesting, well I do believe Nintendo had every right to do so. you go to think of what they accomplished with X and Y having a Global Release of the games. unlike previous version where we have to wait 6months to year before it get localized to other country.
    Good thing he surrendered, or he would have been in bigger trouble. I know from past experience of friends being in the same Situation as he was.

  • Nokonoko

    Leaks are different from Piracy. As far as I know , the guy paid legitimately for his copy, he bought it from his friend who is working at the retail store.

    • SirPrimalform

      Even if he stole it from the store it’s still not piracy. It’s a legit copy regardless of how he got it.

  • SirPrimalform

    Breaking street date and piracy are very much not the same thing.

  • Tzuba

    Came here expecting news of some kind of anti-piracy measure found in the games… This is not at all piracy. Not even a little bit. Might want to revise this article.

  • Ricardo Torres

    How the fuck can this be considered piracy???????????

  • WishingTikal

    Yeah why would he have to give away his copy? He paid for it. Or his friend paid for it. It was a legitimate copy… Sure he posted it too soon, but so what?

    • Ninty

      So I was reading up on the comments of the same coverage over at Kotaku and apparently retail outlets aren’t supposed to have a shipment more than a week in advance. It never happens with big name stores like Target. Somebody messed up big time. But yeah, with the internet these days, it’s too late to try and do damage control, but I guess it also sets an example for future Nintendo releases in general.

    • Abraham Velez

      He didn’t have to, he did it to try and help get the heat off the guy who sold it to him. According to reports, its a $2000 fee for every game not returned.

  • Lamesy Watercorn

    This knucklehead was dumb enough to post the game shop where he got the leaked copy? Someone did him a favor and he rats them out for 5 secs of internet fame. Stay klassy.

  • James Best

    Well, this could have gotten ugly.

  • Oni

    It’s not piracy it’s a street date violation.

  • Michael Bozarth

    Do like the others…. release it but start restricting gameplay footage to be shown, reviews, etc…

  • Thanatos2k

    Surrendered his copy? What the hell? If a store breaks a street date Nintendo has no right to demand your copy of the game you legally bought.


    • James McEneely

      Well, technically, since the store gets fined for EACH COPY MISSING FROM THE SHIPMENT, it would be wise for the people who purchased the game to return it. Breaking the Street Date on something like this has the following consequences:

      1. Fines, for each missing copy (again, I do not know the exact dollar amount, but enough to be quite painful)
      2. The employee who sold very rarely gets to keep their job.
      3. Nintendo has the right to revoke the retailer’s right to carry and sell the game. Granted, for a small leak like this, it is astronomically unlikely (in reasonable terms, it won’t happen), and would rightly be considered overreacting, that Nintendo would not let GameStop sell their titles.

      The point is, while not illegal, the kid was smart enough to return his copy. After all, if you cost your local video game retailer several thousand dollars just because you wanted to play the game so bad that you conned/convinced someone to sell you the game, you are less likely to be allowed in to do business with them.

    • Thanatos2k


      1. They can’t sell that new since the guy opened it, so they’re still going to get fined.

      2. The guy is gonna get fired anyways. You can’t return your pink slip after doing something like this.

      3. There’s no definitive proof where he got it. If I got a store to break a street date can I post a video online claiming I got it from Wal-Mart so they get their shipments revoked?