Gary Bowser, a man that happens to share a namesake with Mario’s greatest nemesis, has reached a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice which will see him pay Nintendo $4.5 million dollars in damages. Bowser, the leader of the hacking group Xecuter, was arrested last year and charged with 11 felony counts, alongside alleged Xecuter member Max Louarn. Earlier this year, Nintendo of America filed a lawsuit against Bowser. In that lawsuit, Nintendo alleged that Bowser and Xecuter “unlawfully manufactures and traffics in an unauthorized operating system called the ‘SX OS,’ and accompanying piracy tools which install it.” These hacking tools allowed users to illegally download Nintendo Switch ROMs online, transfer them to a memory card, and then play them on the console.
In a plea agreement shared by TorrentFreak, Bowser admits he “knowingly and willfully participated in the illegal enterprise from no later than June 2013 until his arrest on September 28, 2020.” The Nintendo Switch did not release until 2017, but Bowser and Xecuter have been selling tools for Nintendo systems for some time, offering options for the DS, Wii, and 3DS.
The filing also states that “the enterprise attempted to cloak its illegal activity with a purported desire to support homebrew enthusiasts who wanted to design their own games,” but “the predominant and primary design of the enterprise’s products was to allow purchasers to play pirated ROMs.”
In addition to the repayment, Bowser might also face several years in jail for selling the hardware. In addition to allowing users to download Switch ROMs, the operating system also allowed them to copy legally purchased software and share it online. Nintendo has long been known for going after pirates, but the fact that Xecuter was charging for this software might have made them a much bigger target for the company. It would be impossible for Nintendo to prevent everyone from pirating and sharing its games online, a fact that is becoming all too evident in the Switch era. However, those that infringe on the company’s copyright and attempt to make money off of it will likely run into the same troubles Bowser did!
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