US government wants more jail time for Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser

Bowser's defence team argues that he is being made to "take the full brunt" of the government's desire to send a message

The US government has argued that Gary Bowser should face five years in prison for his role in selling devices that let people play pirated games on Nintendo devices.

In court documents spotted by Eurogamer, the US government has recommended that Bowser – who pled guilty to two charges in 2021 – should be imprisoned for five years, with a further 3 years of supervised release.

This is due to “the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense,” as well as “to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct.”


On the other hand, Bowser’s defence argued that he is “the least culpable and only apprehended defendant from this indictment,” leaving Bowser to “take the full brunt of the government’s argument that the court must ‘send a message’ of general deterrence by imposing a lengthy term.”

Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo Switch OLED. Credit: Chris Barraclough.

The defence also added that Bowser has already “served a significant sentence by spending 16 months in pretrial detention under harsh conditions”, and requested a 19-month sentence instead of the US government’s 60-month recommendation.

Outside of jail time, Bowser faces paying to significant fines in regards to the case. After Bowser pleaded guilty in November he offered Nintendo £3.2million ($4.5million) in damages, though in December 2021 it was confirmed that he would pay the company £7.5million ($10million).

Bowser is being charged with Trafficking in Circumvention Devices, and Conspiracy to Circumvent Technological Measures and to Traffic in Circumvention Devices, after he pled guilty to both in return for a further nine charges being dropped. He currently awaits a judge making a decision on his sentencing.


In other news, Nintendo has announced that the Nintendo Switch is now its best-selling home console of all time. This beats the Nintendo Wii’s sales stats, but the Nintendo DS remains the company’s overall best-selling console.