Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser has been sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking charges.
Bowser was one of the leaders of Team Xecuter, a sophisticated for-profit video game hacking group that created and sold console hacking software and hardware, such as mod chips. The group consists of more than a dozen individuals located around the world, and their technology has enabled consoles such as the Switch, Nintendo 3DS, NES Classic, PlayStation Classic, and Xbox to run pirated games. Unlike other members of the emulation/modification community who create free and open source software, Team Xecuter charges money for its services. Bowser’s role included managing websites which, according to the US Department of Justicemarketed these products to customers while helping to create and maintain online libraries of pirated games.
Naturally, their activity drew the ire of Nintendo, which called on the US government to launch an official investigation. Bowser and other Xecuter team leaders, Max Louran of France and Yuanning Chen of China, were arrested in September 2020 and initially charged with 11 counts each. The men potentially faced more than 20 years in prison.
“These defendants lined their pockets by stealing and selling the intellectual property of other video game developers – even going so far as to charge customers license fees to play stolen games,” the lawyer said. American Brian Moran after the 2020 arrests.” This conduct not only harms billion-dollar companies, it distracts the hard work of individuals working to advance in the video game industry.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Bowser, 52, from Canada, was arrested in the Dominican Republic and deported to the United States, where he has been detained ever since. He pleaded guilty to two felony charges — conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and trafficking in circumvention devices, and trafficking in circumvention devices — in October 2021. He agreed to pay $4.5 million in restitution as part of his plea deal and an additional $10 million to settle a separate lawsuit from Nintendo. Although Louran, 49, and Chen, 36, have also been charged, they are not in federal custody at this time.
In a press release, Nintendo thanked the government for its efforts with the following statement:
Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement to combat 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 United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the United States Department of Justice , Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Office of International Affairs of the Department of Justice for their significant input and assistance.
We’ll see if other Team Xecuter executives face a similar fate, but this is just the latest and possibly harshest reminder that Nintendo doesn’t mess around when it comes to protecting its intellectual property. .[Source: US Department of Justice]
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