A Legend of Zelda fan has been arrested in Japan for modifying their Breath of the Wild save data. The 27-year-old man was detained by police after attempting to sell the hacked Nintendo Switch save files.
While modifying video game save data isn’t that big of a deal in most parts of the world, Japan in recent years has been cracking down on hackers trying to make a profit off of compromised data. For example in February, a Pokemon Sword & Shield fan was sent to jail for selling hacked Shiny Pokemon.
Only a few months later, another Nintendo franchise is in the headlines for a similar crime. A Legend of Zelda hacker was arrested in July for trying to sell Breath of the Wild save files that contained numerous cheats for the popular Nintendo Switch title.
Breath of the Wild save file lands Zelda hacker in jail
According to reports by the Broadcasting System of Niigata, Tokyo resident Ichimin Sho was detained by Niigata police on July 8th after trying to sell Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild save data. The man had originally listed the Nintendo save data on an auction site in April.
In Sho’s original listing for the Zelda data, he described it as “the ultimate save data” and was offering a service to modify the files however customers wanted. From rare items to maxed-out player stats, the hacker was promising users an “ultimate” version of the 2017 Nintendo Switch title.
The auction listing got the attention of the Niigata Prefecture police who arrested Sho in July. According to authorities, he confessed to selling over “10 million yen” worth of save files so far, which is approximately $90,814 in USD.
Sho had been selling modified Nintendo save files since 2019 for roughly 3,500 yen each ($32 USD). While the arrest may seem extreme, Japan has been cracking down on modified software with the Unfair Competition Prevention Act which was passed two years ago.
Interestingly, a Pokemon fan found themselves in hot water for the same crime in February 2021. In that case, the 23-year-old had been detained after selling over $10,000 worth of hacked Shiny Pokemon in series eighth-generation title Sword & Shield.