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If you’ve been keeping up with Nintendo news for the past year or so, chances are that the name Gary Bowser might be familiar to you. Not to be confused with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser, or indeed King Bowser himself.
No, Gary Bowser was a member of console hacking group Team Xecutor, who had made and sold kits purpose-built to hack the Switch, which allowed users to run both unofficial and pirated games. Obviously, the people at Nintendo weren’t fans of this, and last year, it was announced that Bowser would be sued for millions of dollars as a result. As Nintendo Life reports, though, things moved beyond just fines (not that a multi-million dollar fine is anything to be sniffed at), and the hacker was recently jailed for three years.
A transcript of Bowser’s sentencing (published by Axios) reveals that the severe consequences were intended to send a message to other hackers, with Nintendo apparently describing it as “unique opportunity”. During the sentencing, US district judge Robert Lasnik said: “I always tell the jurors, ‘your role is not to send a message. Your role is to decide guilt or innocence on the facts’. But my role sometimes does entail sending a message.”
“This is a very significant moment for us,” said Nintendo’s lawyer, Ajay Singh. “It’s the purchase of video games that sustains Nintendo and the Nintendo ecosystem, and it is the games that make the people smile. It’s for that reason that we do all we can to prevent games on Nintendo systems from being stolen.”
The transcript also reveals that Judge Lasnik had asked Nintendo’s lawyer during the sentencing about what else could be done “to convince people that there's no glory in this hacking/piracy”, to which Singh replied: “There would be a large benefit to further education of the public.”
Nintendo previously released a press release (published on Business Wire) thanking law enforcement and prosecutors for their efforts in bringing Bowser to justice, saying: “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.”
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