Nintendo wanted to send a message with hacker’s prison sentence

Nintendo scored a legal victory earlier this year against a hacker that played a role in costing the Japanese gaming giant an estimated $65 million in losses over the course of several years. Gary Bowser was ultimately sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay millions in fines for his role as a top member of Team Xecuter. Based on newly released transcripts from Bowser’s sentencing, it seems as though Nintendo wanted to make an example of Bowser and send a warning to the piracy community.

In a newly released transcript from the sentencing obtained by Axios, Nintendo lawyer Ajay Singh described it as a “very significant moment” for the company.

“It’s the purchase of video games that sustains Nintendo and the Nintendo ecosystem, and it is the games that make the people smile,” Singh said. “It’s for that reason that we do all we can to prevent games on Nintendo systems from being stolen.”

Nintendo’s attorney also touched on the ethics of cheating, which he said the group’s hacks enabled. “Parents should not be forced to explain to their children why people cheat and why sometimes games are not fair, just because one person wants an unfair advantage.”

During the hearing, US District Judge Robert Lasnik asked Singh what else could be done to convince people that there is no glory in hacking and piracy. “There would be a large benefit to further education of the public,” Singh said.

Speaking to the sentence, the judge said, “I think there is a role to be played here in terms of a message.” He added that in normal times, he would have handed down the full 60-month penalty officials were seeking.

Bowser didn’t seem all that convinced that prison time would do much to curb the issue. In remarks to the judge, he said there was so much money to be made from piracy that prison time was insignificant.