Pokémon Hacker Arrested For Selling Modified Violet Monsters

Pokémon Hacker Arrested For Selling Modified Violet Monsters

A Japanese man in his mid-30s has been arrested for allegedly tampering with Pokémon Violet save data to sell rare monsters online to interested buyers.

As reported by Automaton (via the Japanese public broadcaster NHK News), the suspect, 36-year-old interior designer Yoshihiro Yamakawa from Uji City in Kyoto, was booked by police on April 9. After a “police cyber patrol” operation, the police claimed to have discovered evidence that Yamakawa used a special tool to illegally modify Pokémon Violet save data. With this tool he could fulfill customer requests, doing things like changing a creature’s colors or making difficult-to-raise monsters easier to manage. This Pokémon racketeering occurred between December 2022 and March 2023, with Yamakawa reportedly making 13,000 yen ($US84 USD) per sale. He even sometimes offered deals, selling six modified Pokémon Violet monsters for 4,000 yen ($US30 USD).

Yamakawa, per Automaton’s translation of the police report, confessed to the crime, saying he did it to “earn a living.” Police say an investigation is underway, with cops reportedly discovering that the tool Yamakawa used can be downloaded for free. You shouldn’t go looking for it if you’re in Japan, though, as using it violates the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act of 2019, which bans the act of editing and selling protected data online or in person.

Since Yamakawa is suspected of violating this law, he could face up to five years in prison, penalty fees of over five million yen (over $US32,600 USD), or both.

Kotaku has reached out to Nintendo for comment.

Pokémon Violet launched, alongside its sister title Scarlet, in November 2022. The games were criticized as being unusually janky by critics and fans alike, becoming some of the lowest-rated Pokémon games in recent memory. Developer Game Freak is currently working on a new Pokémon title, Legends: Z-A, that takes trainers to the Kalos region, the same setting featured in 2013’s Pokémon X and Y. Here’s hoping that this Nintendo Switch exclusive will be in better shape when it drops in 2025.

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