The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most popular games on the Nintendo Switch. It allows for players to explore the world of Hyrule at their own pace and discover any secrets Breath of the Wild may be hiding. Not every player plays like that however, as some would rather modify the game. The efforts of one Japanese hacker selling modified save data of Breath of the Wild ended up catching the attention of the law, leading to his arrest.
This started back in April, where one Tokyo resident, Ichimin Sho, posted a listing on an e-commerce site. This listing described him selling save data for Breath of the Wild. Sho would describe that this wasn’t any normal save data, but in his words “the ultimate save data.” This “ultimate save data” was a modified save of the game, where he would give the player boosted stats and abilities, as well as rare items and weapons in Breath of the Wild. These could all be adjusted upon the customer’s request, and he was selling these saves for 3500 yen (or around $32).
While Sho did manage to attract buyers from outside of Tokyo, he also managed to unknowingly catch the attention of the Niigata Prefecture Police. They had arrested him on Thursday for the violation of the Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act. While the act of arresting him may seem to be unjustified, as Breath of the Wild is a single-player experience without any multiplayer components, the arrest was due to the method of progressing in the game.
The specific violation, according to the Association of Copyright for Computer Software, was “providing services to circumvent the technical restrictions” that had been in place by the manufacturer of the Switch. Sho has admitted to the charges, stating that he had been selling save data as far back as December 2019, with a profit of 10 million yen. The date of the data being altered was done by an unidentified accomplice.
Japanese hackers being arrested over cheating in Nintendo games is not new. This is the second incident that this has happened, the last one being a man in Nagoya arrested for selling hacked Pokemon. This also involved illegally modifying Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s save data. With Nintendo cracking down on cheaters like this everywhere, it might be best for players to take caution if they would like to modify their data.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently available on the Nintendo Switch.
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