Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser sentenced to 40 months in jail after pleading guilty

The Canadian had already agreed to a $14.7 million lawsuit payment.
The Canadian had already agreed to a $14.7 million lawsuit payment. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Nintendo hacker who shares his name with Mario's video game nemesis has been sentenced to 40 months in jail on top of a multi-million dollar fine.

Canadian Gary Bowser previously pleaded guilty to multiple federal hacking charges, and had agreed to a NZ$14.7 million payout to settle the lawsuit from the gaming giants.

Bowser was one of the leaders of the Team Xecuter group that allowed users to play pirated games on Nintendo's 3DS and Switch consoles.

He had been facing up to 10 years in jail on top of another $6.6 million fine that had already been awarded following his plea late last year.

In a statement Nintendo thanked the FBI and other authorities for their "significant contribution and assistance" in bringing Bowser to justice.

"Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry," it said.

Bowser, also the name of the main turtle-like antagonist in the Super Mario Bros franchise, originally faced 11 felony counts in the Seattle District Court.

That was reduced to just two, after he agreed to help authorities investigate other members of Team Xecuter.

At the time, Nintendo estimated it had lost between $96 million and $221 million due to the actions of the hacking team.

Despite that, Bowser estimated he had only made $470,000 during the same timeframe. He was arrested in 2020 in the Dominican Republic before being deported to face trial.

Team Xecuter defended its business in an interview with website Torrent Freak in June 2020, saying it's devices - including the SX range - that allowed users to bypass digital restrictions were for legitimate purposes.

"Our products allow the end-user to make legitimate backups of their original cartridges that they can keep to themselves and play, but this is only a very tiny subset of what the SX products allow you to do," it said.

"With SX you can expand your storage capacities of your console, run Linux, Android and a myriad of open-source applications, games, and utilities."

It said Nintendo's lawsuits were largely attempts to censor those who provided that functionality and its products could spur innovation by allowing amateur programmers the chance to test their games and software on an otherwise closed system.

"We are firm believers of the right to repair legislation, a growing movement to counteract the monopolistic control over hardware which is the property of the consumer who paid for it in the first place," it said.