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Now that he's released from prison, Gary Bowser will effectively be working off his debt to Nintendo until he dies.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 18, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot of the Nintendo Switch console lying upright next to two Joy-Cons.

Gary Bowser, who was part of a well-known group of Nintendo Switch hackers, has been released from prison. But even though he's been released for good behavior, he's still on the hook to pay Nintendo back. 

To recap, Bowser was a salesman for the Team-Xecuter group, which creates and sells devices that let users play illegal backups on their consoles, like the Switch or Nintendo 3DS. In February 2022, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and during his 2021 sentencing, was ordered to pay $10 million to the Japanese console maker. 

TorrentFreak spotted a recent video interview Bowser did with Nick Moses, where he revealed he'll soon begin paying off that $10 million (out of $14.5 overall) in damages. While in prison, he paid $175 of this off through work, but going forward, he'll have to start paying part of his monthly income to Nintendo. 

"The maximum they can take is between 25% and 30% of your monthly gross income," said Bowser. "And I have up until, like, six months before I have to start making payments."

For further context, Bowser reportedly made $320,000 during his time with Team-Xecuter. Max Louarn, a French citizen who allegedly leads the group, was the other man arrested with Bowser, and said to have made the group millions in revenue. At time of writing, Louarn has not been deported to the US to face charges.

To fully pay off his agreed upon debt to Nintendo, Bowser will have to earn $40 million before taxes. Some outlets have done the math and come to the conclusion that the 53-year-old Bowser will likely spend the rest of his life paying Nintendo.

The developer has a history of being more than happy to legally punish pirates, leakers, or those who infringe on its copyrights. What's happening to Bowser right now is a reminder of how much power console makers and publishers wield, and how they choose to use that in tandem with the American justice system.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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