Gary Bowser, a 54-year-old man, has recently disclosed that he has been making monthly payments of $25 to Nintendo, despite serving a prison sentence in relation to his role in aiding Team Xecuter with their piracy-enabling line of console accessories. Bowser had pleaded guilty to his involvement and realized that he would likely never pay back the $14.5 million he owed Nintendo in civil and criminal penalties, according to his interview with The Guardian.
With 14 months of his 40-month sentence served (in addition to 16 months of pre-trial detention), Bowser continued to make payments to Nintendo, even behind bars. He received $1 an hour for counseling other prisoners on suicide watch and used a portion of that money to contribute to his outstanding fines. This lines up with a previous interview where he mentioned paying $175 to Nintendo during his detention.
It has been reported that Nintendo will continue to take 20 to 30 percent of Bowser’s gross income for the rest of his life, after expenses such as rent are covered. Despite this ongoing financial burden, Bowser maintains that he wasn’t directly involved in the coding or manufacture of Team Xecuter’s products, rather he worked on incidental details like product testing, promotion, and website coding. He described himself as “kind of a PR guy” for Team Xecuter and says taking a plea deal on just two charges saved him the time and money of fighting all 14 charges made against him in court.
In his interview with The Guardian, Bowser expressed his belief that Nintendo pushed for jail time to “send a message that there are consequences for participating in a sustained effort to undermine the video game industry.” He acknowledged that the sentence sent a clear warning to others involved in similar activities, stating that it served as a deterrent.
Bowser’s troubles don’t end with his time in prison. He suffered from a serious bout of COVID and elephantiasis during his stay and is now reliant on friends and a GoFundMe page to pay for rent and necessities, as he searches for a job. However, terms of his plea deal prevent him from working with any modern gaming hardware, which may hamper his job search. Despite these challenges, Bowser considers his current circumstances to be preferable to a period of homelessness he experienced in his 20s.
For now, he is reportedly passing the time by tinkering with old-school Texas Instruments calculators, as his involvement with console hacking is restricted due to his criminal record and the terms of his plea deal. The fate of his fellow Team Xecuter member and other indictee, Max “MAXiMiLiEN” Louarn, who was still living in France as of mid-2022 and Chinese national, Yuanning Chen, who remains at large, remains unknown.