Gamers all over the world are always looking for modifications that can make their games more fun or lively. And there is a booming business for those who create them.
There is a subtle line, however, that must be walked between modifications and piracy. While a hacking group called Team X-Ecuter claimed they were just advocating for homebrew programs, Nintendo didn’t agree.
The US Government joined the Japanese game giant’s hunt for the team and filed criminal charges against three of the group’s 12 members. Gary Bowser, one of the three, has now pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
The complaint against the men reads:
“The Team Xecuter criminal enterprise is comprised of over a dozen individual members located around the world. These members include developers who exploit vulnerabilities in videogame consoles and design circumvention devices; website designers who create the various websites that promote the enterprise’s devices; suppliers who manufacture the devices; and resellers around the world who sell and distribute the devices. The indictment alleges that due to the illegal nature of its business, Team Xecuter continuously sought to evade enforcement efforts by victim companies, financial institutions, and law enforcement.”
The Justice Department statement continues, “Team Xecuter at times cloaked its illegal activity with a purported desire to support gaming enthusiasts who wanted to design their own videogames for noncommercial use. However, the overwhelming demand and use for the enterprise’s devices was to play pirated videogames.”
The charges against Bowser, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and trafficking in circumvention devices, are reasonably serious. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison.