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A man from Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, has been caught and arrested for selling hacked Pokémon in order to give other players an advantage in the competitive scene.
The report from Asahi News described the suspect to be a 23-year-old unemployed man, and added that he has admitted to the charges. To be honest, you likely wouldn't need a full-time job if you were raking in over a million yen for supplying these hacked Pokémon. That equates to approximately $11,000, earned between November 2019 and November 2020.
His actions violated the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in Japan, for "using an indication on goods or services, in an advertisement thereof, or in trade documents or electronic correspondence thereof, in a way that is likely to mislead as to the place of origin, quality, content, manufacturing process, purpose, or quantity of the goods, or the quality, content, purpose, or quantity of the services."
The man had been using a jailbroken Nintendo Switch to create the modded critters. Now, jailbroken Switches aren't only used for ill-advised exploits; it offers access to the console's operating system and lets you install custom and third-party applications. Expectedly, Nintendo does not want its players to do this to the console, and it filed a lawsuit against one of the companies that was developing jailbreaking kits for the Switch.
Through these external apps, the man was able to fulfil orders from Pokémon players for hacked pocket monsters. Each virtual animal cost about ¥500, plus a commission fee of ¥800 for an order encompassing six Pokémon or more. Though hacked Pokémon won't look any different to regular Pokémon (unless they're shiny, of course), there are telltale signs. One is that the Pokémon has an ability or move that isn't actually available in its case, like an Obstagoon with Own Tempo or a Donphan with Dig.
Evidently, these Pokémon are automatically barred from official competitions because the opponent has no clue that the Pokémon has access to unexpected moves or will act differently due to its unusual ability. In January, Nintendo expressed that it would be cracking down on those who hack Pokémon Sword & Shield and Pokémon Home with malicious intent. "We will regularly monitor and respond to fraudulent and annoying acts so that our users can enjoy themselves with peace of mind. We look forward to your continued support of the Pokémon series," it said in the announcement.
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