Video game pirate to pay Nintendo $ 10 million to settle piracy lawsuit

Gary Bowser, a Canadian national who has made millions by hacking Nintendo consoles and selling devices that allow users to play pirated games on Nintendo devices, has agreed to pay the gaming giant $ 10 million to settle a trial.

Bowser was a prominent member of the Team Xecuter video game hacking group which aimed to make millions by allowing video gamers to play illegal copies of popular games on game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony PlayStation. Classic, Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS. . Other prominent members of the gang included French national Max Louarn and Chinese national Yuanning Chen.

The Xecuter team consisted of more than a dozen members, including a team of developers whose primary role was to find ways to jailbreak popular game consoles or exploit their inherent vulnerabilities and design bypass devices. . There was also a team that made devices that could be used by gamers to bypass existing controls in Nintendo consoles and play unauthorized or pirated copies of popular games.

The video game hacking group also had a team of web designers whose job it was to create various websites to promote the group’s unique devices, such as Gateway 3DS, Stargate, TrueBlue Mini, Classic2Magic. and the SX range of devices. The group used a network of dealers around the world to promote these devices, and also used various tricks to evade detection by law enforcement authorities.

The group’s activities, from which it has made millions in the form of computer hardware sales and advertising revenue, came to an abrupt end in September last year when Max Louarn and Gary Bowser were arrested in France and the Dominican Republic. Bowser was the least fortunate, as he was quickly extradited to the United States to stand trial for his actions between 2013 and 2019.

When announcing his chargeUS Attorney Brian Moran said Bowser and his fellow hackers lined their pockets stealing and selling the intellectual property of other video game developers, even going so far as to force customers to pay license fees to play. to stolen games. “This behavior doesn’t just hurt billion dollar companies, it hijacks the hard work of the individuals working to advance the video game industry.”

Earlier this week, news broke that after pleading not guilty for more than a year in a Nintendo lawsuit, Bowser has finally pleaded guilty, agreed to pay the video game giant $ 4.5 million in damages, and also agreed to pay Nintendo an additional $ 10 million to settle the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit against Bowser in April this year, Nintendo sought damages of $ 2,500 for each device sold by Team Xecuter to pirate Nintendo Switch consoles and $ 150,000 for each copyright infringement. By agreeing to settle the case, Bowser saved himself from spending up to ten years in prison.

While Bowser’s decision looks like a huge victory for Nintendo against video game piracy, it probably isn’t. As per Bowser’s plea deal, five of Team Xecuter’s most popular devices were designed specifically to hack Nintendo consoles and by allowing players to play games on those consoles without paying the company, the group has inflicted losses of between $ 65 million and $ 150 million on Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

The gaming industry has, since its inception, been a popular target for hackers and hackers. In June, a group of hackers announced in a dark web forum that they had obtained 780 gigabytes of data from Electronic Arts, including the source code for Frostbite, which is the game engine that powers games such as FIFA, Madden and the Battlefield series, among others. .

The group quickly put the data up for sale for $ 28 million, possibly in an attempt to extract millions of EAs. Brett Callow, cybersecurity expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, told Teiss that the source code obtained by the hacker group could, theoretically, be copied by other developers or used to create hacks for games.

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