Gary “GaryOPA” Bowser pleaded guilty to federal piracy charges in October. Now he’s agreed to pay Nintendo a massive $10 million settlement for his reported role in designing and selling devices to circumvent Switch security measures as part of Team Xecuter.
Nintendo had been hounding Bowser and other associates for years after video game jailbreaking group Team Xecuter began promoting a modchip to help users hack the Switch and play pirated games on it. In September of 2020, Bowser and two others were indicted in U.S. District Court on federal charges. While he now potentially faces jail time after recently pleading guilty in that case, Nintendo has been pursuing its own scorched-earth civil lawsuit.
The newly-agreed-to $10 million settlement filed yesterday, which still needs to be signed by the judge in the case, would also require Bowser to turn any online registries or domain names associated with Team Xecuter over to Nintendo. It also prohibits him from ever “directly or indirectly” infringing on Nintendo’s copyrights and other intellectual property, including even emulating the company’s games.
“This permanent injunction is binding against Defendant worldwide, without regard to the territorial scope of the specific intellectual property rights asserted in the Complaint of the above-captioned case, and may be enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction wherever Defendant or his assets may be found,” the settlement reads.
In recent years, Nintendo has been going after popular ROM sites for old games as well. Due to lawsuits, or even just the threat of them, sites have changed their names, destroyed all their ROMs, and been hit with millions in damages. But the company has also had an apparent zero-tolerance policy for free fan games, mods, and other projects based on its products. Most recently, it’s been on the warpath against esports tournaments for modded versions of old Smash Bros. games.