Mario And Bowser
Image: Nintendo

Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser – who, as part of the infamous Team Xecuter, distributed hardware and software that allowed people to run pirated games on their Switch consoles – should serve five years in jail, the US government is arguing.

The proposed sentence is found in court documents relating to Bower's ongoing case, and the US government argues that a 60-month / five-year sentence would reflect "the nature and circumstances of the offence, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offence, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment... to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct" (thanks, Eurogamer).

In addition to this, the US government suggests that Bowser should be placed under supervision for three years following his release.

That's an extraordinarily long sentence, and one that Bowser's legal team feel is unfair, given Bowser's degree of involvement. Bowser's lawyers claim that he was "the least culpable" member of Team Xecuter, and point out that the others involved haven't been brought to justice. Therefore, Bowser is feeling the full force of the legal system on his own.

They argue that a smaller jail term is more fitting:

This is a serious offence in which Nintendo suffered substantial monetary loss. A sentence of 19 months for the least culpable of the three charged defendants, under the circumstances in which Mr. Bowser has actually served that sentence, is significant.

Bowser's lawyers have also questioned the amount of money he is said to have gained from his Team Xecuter exploits. They estimate he collected $320k over seven years, while also claiming that other members of the piracy group made significantly more. indeed, the sheer volume of money flowing through Team Xecuter is what caused the US government to step in and take action.

To sum up, the US government adds:

This case is unlike any other criminal case known to the government. Mr. Bowser deserves a higher sentence... given the size and breadth of the Team Xecuter conspiracy, which lasted for years and included multiple types of circumvention devices.

The next step will be for a judge to rule the length of Bowser's jail term. Bowser has already agreed to pay a $4.5m fine as part of this case and has also accepted a $10 million fine as part of Nintendo's own civil lawsuit.