Nintendo Switch Hacker Gary W. Bowser Gets 40-Month Prison Sentence

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Gary W. Bowser, leader of the group Xecuter, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for selling hacking tools for the Nintendo Switch hardware. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington handed down the sentence, just a few months after Bowser had agreed to pay $4.5 million in damages to the company. Bowser and Xecuter sold access to the SX OS software alongside the tools required to install it. The software allowed users to download ROMs online, upload them to a memory card, and then use them on the Nintendo Switch console.

“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. In particular, Nintendo would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their significant contribution and assistance,” the company said in a press release.

Bowser and Xecuter had been selling hacking tools for Nintendo platforms since 2013, offering the ability to download software on systems such as DS, Wii, and 3DS. In an attempt to conceal the true purpose of the software and hacking tools, Xecuter pushed them as a way of playing homebrew games. However, the real intent was to give access to illegally obtained and shared software. In fact, the operating software not only allowed users access to shared software, it also allowed them to copy and share games that they had purchased legally, allowing other users access to these games. In turn, that could have created a greater incentive for more users to purchase the tools from Xecuter.

Nintendo has long fought piracy in the video game industry, and clearly sees this as a victory, based on the press release. It would be impossible for the company to stop all piracy on the Switch platform, but Bowser’s sentence shows what can happen to those that try to profit off pirated software!

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