Pokemon Sword & Shield player arrested after selling $10,000 illegal 'mon - Dexerto

Pokemon Sword & Shield player arrested after selling $10,000 illegal ‘mon

Published: 8/Feb/2021 23:03 Updated: 9/Feb/2021 3:56

by Brent Koepp


A Pokemon Sword & Shield player was arrested by police in Japan after selling and trading a Shiny Sobble to another fan. The 23-year-old got into hot water after hacking the Gen 8 starter ‘mon.

Pokemon is one of the most beloved franchises in the world. Despite its cheerful world of vibrant ‘mon and characters, the series has had its fair share of dark moments from fans in the real world – from Go players assaulting each other to scammers selling fake merchandise.

One Sword & Shield user found themselves in trouble with the law, when they got busted for selling a hacked monster in the Nintendo Switch RPG. The Japanese man was arrested after reportedly making close to $10,000 selling altered characters in the eighth generation title.


Screenshot of Shiny Sobble in Pokemon Sword & Shield.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
A Sword & Shield player was arrested for selling one of these.

Pokemon fan arrested for selling hacked Sobble in Sword & Shield

In January, The Pokemon Company announced that they were cracking down on hacked characters being traded and sold in Sword & Shield. Players and content creators were also receiving bans for having the illegal ‘mon in their Home account as well as the Switch title.

A Gen 8 Trainer from Nagoya City, Japan found themselves facing down serious legal trouble on February 4 after trading a hacked Shiny Sobble to another player. According to Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun, the 23-year-old man was arrested for selling the altered ‘mon to a 32-year-old fan in Kyoto for 4,400 yen (roughly $41).

The suspect had his computer seized by authorities, who allege he had been selling hacked Pokemon for the past year. Police believe the man to have made up to 1.15 million yen (which is roughly $10,000 in USD) by trading illegal monsters.


Photograph taken by Yuichi Koyama at Aichi Prefectural Police Toyota Station hacked Pokemon Sword & Shield evidence.
Yuichi Koyama / Aichi Prefectural Police / Asahi Shimbun
Police seized the Sword & Shield player’s computer for evidence.

While it may seem extreme to be arrested for trading a hacked Pokemon, Japan has strict laws against altering software. According to Serebii’s Joe Merrick,  “in Japan the editing of save data and distribution of edited data is illegal as of 2019.”

At the time of writing, it’s not clear what punishment the fan will face. The story comes after Game Freak and Nintendo heavily cracked down on sites and players selling hacked versions of ‘mon in Sword & Shield.