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Nintendo Switch hacker Gary Bowser sentenced to over three years in prison

Last year as part of a continued crackdown on piracy, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Gary Bowser, one of the leaders of Team Xecuter, a group responsible for Nintendo Switch hacking and piracy tools. Several months ago, Bowser plead guilty to charges, and now, he'll spend just over three years in jail. 

Bowser accepted a plea deal in November 2021, pleading guilty to “trafficking in circumvention devices”, and admitting that Team Xecuter was set up to sell products and pave the way for Switch game piracy, rather than being a harmless homebrew development effort. Two of the products Xecuter tried to release was the SX Core and SX Lite, two hardware modifications for the Switch that enable users to run pirated games on the console.

While the maximum sentence for trafficking in circumvention devices is five years, Bowser was given a 40 month prison term, or roughly three years and four months. Bowser's legal team had tried to get the sentence down to 19 months, while US prosecutors wanted the maximum five year sentence. The judge ended up landing somewhere in the middle.

Aside from the prison sentence, Bowser will also have to pay $14.5 million USD in fines. As Eurogamer points out, two other members of Team Xecuter have yet to be arrested, but the US has identified them and is seeking arrest.

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KitGuru Says: Nintendo has been cracking down quite hard on piracy in recent years. Those behind ROM sites and piracy tools don't just have lawsuits to worry about, as the US government has made it clear it will also press criminal charges in cases like this. 

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