Hacking the Nintendo Switch by modifying save data or any kind of unintended changes being made to games can get you wound up in jail now. Actual jail time, not more than five years. But still, you could go to prison for four whole years for unlocking a shiny Caterpie in Pokemon Let’s go!
Lawmakers in Japan pushed forth an amendment to officiate the unfair competition prevention law. This amendment specifically has made the modification of video game save data illegal in Japan.
This amendment affects not only the adulteration of save data but also the modification of gaming systems or hacking such as the Nintendo Switch. To pirate games for example.
Anyone found guilty of committing either of the aforementioned offenses is subject to either a sentence of up to 5 years jail time. Or pay a fine of 5,000,000 yen.
This is another advancement for digital rights and property being taken as actual entities. Basically a part of the inevitable digitization of our society. Sports have already been affected with the growing phenomenon of Esports as an officially recognized sport. In fact, it could be introduced in the Olympics after a certain point in time.
The same is being applied to what offenses are punishable and what isn’t. Japan takes its gaming industry very seriously. So it makes sense regarding how they’re doubling down on both video game piracy as well as cheating,
Piracy is already criminal and illegal by popular belief. The difference being made here is that the modification of one’s own save data is also punishable.
While on one hand, it does go hand and hand with the unfair competition law. Since players that hack and cheat in online games can mess with rankings or leaderboards. However, at the same time, it’s a bit harsh for those that aren’t affecting anybody else with their modifications.
Such as building the perfect Pokemon team in a game. If you’re using that same modified team to fight other players, it’s pretty illegal. But if you’re using it for your own single player experience, I feel that the fine and jail-time is a bit too much.
Hacking the Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, is pretty shifty. Since you’re essentially robbing developers of both the console and the games by not paying to either. Considering how well the Switch is doing, the attention to protecting its use sort of makes sense. So if you’re in Japan, make sure you don’t cheat.