Nintendo suing Bowser over Switch hacks

Nintendo of America filed a lawsuit Friday against Gary Bowser, a reported “leader” of hack creators Team Xecuter. Bowser and another Team Xecuter member, Max Louarn, were arrested and charged with 11 felony counts in 2020. The new lawsuit alleges Bowser infringed on Nintendo’s copyright in creating and selling its hacks. The lawsuit, filed in a Seattle court, is looking to charge Bowser with two trafficking counts and one copyright violation.

Nintendo described Bowser’s operation as “an international pirate ring” that sells Nintendo Switch hacking devices designed to circumvent the company’s security measures, allowing buyers to run pirated Nintendo Switch games. Nintendo has previously filed multiple lawsuits against sellers of the hacking tools — including the SX Pro, SX Core, and SX Lite, three devices that are used to hack the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

According to the lawsuit, Bowser has been creating and selling Nintendo hacking devices since at least 2013, when he distributed a device designed to hack the Nintendo 3DS. Throughout the lawsuit, Nintendo documented a lengthy history of Bowser’s Switch hacks, as well as a breakdown of how the devices work.

Nintendo has focused much of its legal efforts on resellers in the past, with multiple lawsuits filed over the past few years, one of which won the company a $2 million settlement. On Thursday, Nintendo won an injunction for a November lawsuit targeting an Amazon reseller.

Previously, Nintendo has called Nintendo Switch hacking and piracy a “serious, worsening international problem.” In Friday’s lawsuit, lawyers wrote that Bowser’s wares “continue to put more than 79 million Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite consoles at risk from piracy.”

Team Xecuter operates as a for-profit company, selling kits used to hack Nintendo devices. Some video game preservationists argue that video game piracy can be used to document and preserve games, but Team Xecuter as always been a controversial organization because of its methods, as Ars Technica reported in May.

Nintendo is looking for damages — $2,500 for each trafficked device, as well as $150,000 for each copyright violation. Of course, Nintendo also wants to shut down Bowser’s operations for good.

Polygon has reached out to Nintendo for more information.

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