Take note, folks: getting caught with digital Pokémon contraband won’t just get you in trouble with authorities, but also thrown in jail with a hefty prison sentence.
As reported earlier this week by local Japanese news outlet Asahi (H/T, ResetEra), a 23-year-old man from Minami-ku, Kyoto, was recently taken into custody by police and accused of creating and distributing altered Pokémon Gen 8 games Sword and Shield. Released back in 2019, the Switch exclusives have proven to be mega-popular among fans with developer Game Freak recently confirming that the pair have collectively sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
That being the case, a vast userbase in the market for perfectly bred Pokémon exists, to the extent that many players are willing to pay real money for tailor-made creatures. In this instance, the unnamed individual admitted to selling an edited (read: hacked or altered) Sobble to a 36-year-man following their request for 4,400 yen (approx. $40).
What’s more, the ‘perpetrator’ is believed to have racked up more than 1.15 million yen ($10,000) in profits for offering similar services to others since starting the illicit business in November 2020. ResetEra user Serebii notes that no details pertaining to a fine and/or jail time are shared in the original article, though the idea isn’t as absurd as you might think. After all, in 2019, Japan ruled in favor of making the editing or distribution of altered save data a criminal offense punishable by law.
Coincidentally, this news comes not long after The Pokémon Company outlined plans to crack down on cheaters in its games and won’t hesitate to issue suspensions and/or bans users of its services believed to be breaking the rules. See here for the full story.