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Nintendo Switch piracy group leader pleads guilty to trafficking

Earlier this year as part of a continued crackdown on piracy, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Gary Bowser, who was allegedly one of the leaders of Team Xecuter, a group responsible for Nintendo Switch hacking and piracy tools. Now months later, Bowser has pleaded guilty to several charges. 

As part of a plea agreement (via TorrentFreak), Bowser plead guilty to “trafficking in circumvention devices”, which carries a maximum sentence in 5 years in prison for each count, as well as up to $4.5 million in fines. The plea agreement, which Bowser agreed to, also makes it clear that Team Xecuter’s purpose was to sell products to allow pirated ROMs to be played on a Nintendo Switch, rather than an effort to support the homebrew development community.

Nintendo describes Team Xecuter is an “international pirate ring”, whose main goal is to circumvent security measures and pave the way for pirated games to run on the Nintendo Switch. This all links back to events that took place in May 2020, when Nintendo filed lawsuits against retail sites planning to stock Team Xecuter’s hardware modifications for the Switch, including the SX Core and SX Lite, both of which would enable pirated games to run on the console.

Since stopping these devices from circulating, Nintendo has been identifying the developers and going after them too. Two Nintendo hackers were arrested last year, one was sentenced to three years in prison for hacking Nintendo servers and other offences, while the other was a member of Team Xecuter, who faces 11 felony counts.

KitGuru Says: Nintendo continues to crack down on piracy in an effort to protect Switch sales. Sentencing has not been carried out yet, so this case isn’t quite finished, but we should have another update soon. 

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