Bowser arrested and charged for selling Nintendo Switch hacks

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Two members of a console hacking and piracy organization known as Team Xecuter have been arrested and charged with fraud, one of whom is named Gary Bowser. French national Max Louarn and Bowser, originally from Canada but arrested in the Dominican Republic, allegedly led the group, which makes a line of tools for cracking locked-down gaming hardware.

Team Xecuter is a sophisticated operation known best for its Nintendo hacks, including a USB device called the SX Pro that allows the Nintendo Switch to run pirated games. The group’s for-profit motive has made it controversial in the modding and emulation communities, reports Ars Technica, because those communities tend to focus on open-source efforts and shy away from selling products that could draw the attention of both console makers and federal authorities. Team Xecuter also makes hacking tools for the Nintendo 3DS and the NES Classic, among other devices.

Nintendo is well aware of the group, having filed two lawsuits against the organization back in May, with the primary intention of shutting down third-party retailers that resell Team Xecuter’s products online. Nintendo also has a controversial history of its own involving aggressive litigation over unauthorized use of its intellectual property. In more recent years, Nintendo has gone after so-called ROM sites that host ripped game files and other sites and web stores that traffic in pirated content and related hardware tools.

The Justice Department has gone further. “These defendants were allegedly leaders of a notorious international criminal group that reaped illegal profits for years by pirating video game technology of U.S. companies,” Brian C. Rabbitt, the acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “These arrests show that the department will hold accountable hackers who seek to commandeer and exploit the intellectual property of American companies for financial gain, no matter where they may be located.”

The Justice Department tries to emphasize the difference between Xecuter’s activities and not-for-profit emulation or console hacking. The release says Xecuter “attempted to protect its overall business by using a wide variety of brands, websites, and distribution channels, according to the indictment,” and that the group “cloaked its illegal activity with a purported desire to support gaming enthusiasts who wanted to design their own videogames for noncommercial use.” But the primary purpose of the group’s activities was to develop and sell for-profit tools for running pirated games, and additionally to help “create and support online libraries of pirated videogames.”

Both men face severe prison time if convicted, including 20 years for each charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, with up to five years for some of the lesser charges. No trial date has been set.


Isn’t the head of Nintendo USA Bowser? I assumed that this was him …

Yeah, title is misleading and feels like clickbait.

Yeah. It would be like a headline saying "Trump arrested for sexual assault" or "Biden forcibly admitted to asylum", only to find they were talking about Donald Biden or Joe Trump (completely unrelated).

TheVerge needs to stop with the Buzzfeedness.

Good god, it’s an appropriate title given the fact that one of the individuals is named Bowser. It’s a pretty on the nose joke given Bowser is the antagonist in Mario games and this person is antagonizing Nintendo, in a sense. I went into the article assuming one of the individuals involved was named Bowser, not assuming that this was about NOA’s president. The faux outrage at article titles around here is a bit much. If your reading skills aren’t able to get you past the first paragraph without confusion, and if you decide the content based on the headline before putting some effort to think in a nuanced way, maybe the problem is you and not the Buzzfeedness (sic) of the title.

We are just saying that having an article titled starting with "BOWSER ARRESTED" doesn’t feel like the premium and nice content we usually get from the Verge.
Also if the man wasn’t named Bowser probably this article wouldn’t have been on the front page.
Constructive criticism from readers and fans of the site. Thats it. Nothing more. ‍♂️

God is good. This is true.

I put it to you that saying "It’s a joke that also happens to get click revenue by making people click through to see something they did not expect" is a conflict of interest. Maybe they shouldn’t put ads on their jokes? (Because the Bowser in question wasn’t the Mario antagonist either).

Or "Musk arrested for selling illegal automotive parts"

Isn’t the head of Nintendo USA Bowser?

No, his name is Doug King Koopa

Yeah I came in thinking the same thing.

If when you hear "Bowser" in a Nintendo context everything you can think is "Doug Bowser" then clearly you were not the target of the (good) headline pun.

Doug Bowser is very disappointed at Gary Bowser. And the princess is yet in another castle.

You can’t just say "Bowser" there is a Nintendo executive whose last name is Bowser.

I’m old enough that I thought they might be talking about the guy from Sha Na Na.

Are they really "known best" for their Nintendo operations? I’d argue it’s their PS and Xbox stuff. Nintendo are just the most sue happy.

I can’t decide if it’s worse if the headline is ignorant or clickbait.

Nintendo is arresting someone with the last name Bowser and their president is Bowser and their main villain in their biggest franchise is Bowser…but they just use "Bowser" in the headline…


The headline is supposed to be a joke? Why?

Because short of them suing a guy named Mario, how could it be any more amusing?

Besides, using just the surname of someone in a news article isn’t a new thing. Let’s check out ESPN’s on the side right now:

Sources: Heat’s Adebayo (shoulder) out Game 2
BBWAA removes Landis’ name from MVP awards
WR Thomas among 6 Saints starters ruled out
Harbaugh: No word from NFL on maskless tirade
Halloween treat: Davis vs. Santa Cruz on Oct. 31
Kings fire man who portrays mascot Bailey

Imagine if you saw a headline that said "Musk Arrested for Hacking Teslas" but it was actually about someone coincidentally named Bob Musk, not actually Elon Musk.

These are situations where more than just a surname would be helpful…

I’d say this serves as a nice lesson in reading beyond the headline.

It’s an even better lesson on how not to write a headline

Some people don’t have a problem understanding a basic headline. Reading comprehension is on you, not the Verge’s problem.

Clarity is the Verge’s problem and this is wilfully unclear.

Dunno, but I’d be amused if there were a headline referencing Teslas and "Musk" and the aforementioned musk was in relation to a deer.

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