Hacker named Bowser to pay $14.7 million to Nintendo to settle civil lawsuit

Nintendo character Bowser
His Team Xecuter group created devices that allowed pirated games to be played. Photo credit: Getty Images

A hacker named Bowser, the same as Mario's video game nemesis, has agreed to pay Nintendo NZ$14.7 million to settle a lawsuit against him.

Canadian Gary Bowser agreed to pay the civil fine just weeks after also pleading guilty to multiple federal hacking charges.

As part of that plea, he had already been fined $6.6 million and is facing up to 10 years in prison.

Bowser was part of a group called Team Xecuter that enabled pirated games to be played on Nintendo's consoles like the 3DS and the Switch as well as Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.

He was arrested in the Dominican Republic in 2020 and deported to the US to face trial, during which he admitted he had developed, manufactured, marketed and sold devices to allow people to play pirated ROMS on the consoles since 2013.

That included SX Pro and SX OS devices which "surreptitiously accessed Nintendo's servers and online gaming ecosystem without authorisation".

Bowser had originally faced 11 felony counts in the Seattle District Court, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering along with other members of the group.

Nine of those felony charges were dropped after his guilty plea and an agreement to help authorities in their investigation of Team Xectuer.

"These defendants lined their pockets by stealing and selling the work of other video-game developers - even going so far as to make customers pay a licensing fee to play stolen games," US Attorney Brian Moran said.

"This conduct doesn’t just harm billion dollar companies, it hijacks the hard work of individuals working to advance in the videogame industry."

According to his earlier plea deal, Team Xecuter generated tens of millions of dollars from both device and software sales since 2013.

Despite that, Bowswer estimated he had only made $470,000 during that time.

Nintendo had said it had lost between $96 million and $221 million due to Team Xecuter's actions.