Bowser should be put in jail for five years, say the US government

A picture of Bowser behind jail bars.
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The US government has said that prolific Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser should be put behind bars for five years.

Bowser (yes, really) lost a landmark case against Nintendo in October after the developer and console manufacturer went after him for his part in hacking group Team Xecuter—a group known for making and controversially selling modding chips and jailbreaking software for a host of consoles. He was charged with two counts: "conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and to traffic in circumvention devices," facing up to 10 years in total.

Now the US government is saying that Bowser should be put away for 60 months for each count, to be served at the same time (thanks, Eurogamer.) Court documents show that the government believe the recommendation is "appropriate given '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, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense.'"

This is all on top of the fact that Bowser has already been ordered to pay a total of $14.5 million—$4.5 million for the initial guilty plea and a further $10 million in damages from a separate civil suit. 

On the other hand, Bowser's lawyers are arguing that he should only be jailed for a maximum of 19 months. According to another court document, he earned significantly less than co-defendants Max Louarn and Yuanning Chen, both of whom are yet to face US charges. "Thus Mr Bowser is left 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," his lawyers wrote. The document goes on to claim that while Louarn and Chen "must have made millions," Bowser only raked in around $320,000 over seven years by comparison.

The defence also claims that Bowser "has accepted full responsibility for his actions and has expressed sincere shame and remorse," saying that his "role, his history, his remorse, and the steps he has already taken towards rehabilitation" should only land him with a 19-month sentence.

Bowser was originally arrested in the Dominican Republic and extradited to the US to face 11 felony counts. Louarn currently has an extradition matter pending in France, while Chen is still at large.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.