Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for creating and selling “console-hacking software and devices used to play pirated Nintendo Switch games,” according to Nintendo. Bowser was a member of Team Xecuter, a group of hackers known for creating and selling hacking tools for video game consoles. The group allegedly cost Nintendo $65 million in profits, according to prosecutors.
Bowser also agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million during a separate civil case that was settled in December 2021.
Nintendo put out a press release praising the verdict of the trial.
“Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry. In particular, Nintendo would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their significant contribution and assistance,” the document read.
Some people online are unhappy about the verdict, pointing out how financial crimes like this usually come with lesser charges than serious crimes that cause physical harm.
Users on the subreddit r/technology pointed out that it’s possible to get a comparable prison sentence for killing someone, while users on r/games questioned the morality of sending someone to prison who isn’t a risk of physically hurting another person.
Nintendo is notorious for being very protective of its IPs, going as far as to remove fan projects from the internet due to copyright concerns.