Nintendo Hacker’s Jail Sentence Meant To ‘Send A Message’

Nintendo Hacker’s Jail Sentence Meant To ‘Send A Message’

A Nintendo attorney says the long prison sentence and hefty fine of a hacker who hacked Nintendo games is meant as a warning.

It’s no secret that piracy is still a hot issue in video games, especially with games that are still available for sale through official channels. The pirating of video games for many reasons often elicits a harsh response from companies, with a Japanese man arrested for selling pirated games Pokemon to other players.

nintendo is particularly aggressive when it comes to dealing with anyone who goes out of line with their copyrighted properties. Sometimes that means issuing cease and desist orders to players creating their own fan versions or sequels of games, but in the case of a man selling pirated versions of Nintendo titles, the punishment was harsher, and it was very intentional.


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The case centers on a man named Gary Bowser, with no connection to Mario’s famous Bowser or Doug Bowser who works for Nintendo. Bowser was convicted of pirating Nintendo titles and sentenced to prison. He faces just over three years in prison and a whopping $15 million fine. If that sounds excessive, that’s because it was intentional: Nintendo’s attorney, Ajay Singh, made it clear that the phrase was meant to send a message to potential wrongdoers.

According to Singh, Nintendo takes the sale of its video games more seriously than anything else, which makes a lot of sense. As such, the company wants to crack down on hackers as much as possible, and Bowser’s very public condemnation offers an opportunity to deter others from doing the same. Originally, Nintendo wanted Bowser to serve a five-year sentence, but the judge sentenced him to 40 months instead. The judge handling the case said that Bowser’s accomplices, still at large, would likely receive even longer sentences.

Currently, Bowser has served 16 months of his 40-month sentence, with almost a third of the time spent in full lockdown due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, unable to get treatment for a leg ailment, Bowser had to move around the prison in a wheelchair.

To hear Bowser and his attorney tell it, the sentence has been very detrimental to his health thus far, and it will likely continue to be so. Plus, Bowser will likely be paying Nintendo for years, considering his hacking business hasn’t grossed nearly $15 million. While a harsh crackdown on piracy is understandable, this particular punishment may well undermine many opinions of Nintendo. After all, many Nintendo game hacks, like the Super Mario 64/Guilty Gear crossover, are well-liked. However, there’s a huge difference between a simple hack like this and Bowser’s crime, something that’s important to always keep in mind.

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Source: Axios

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