In a recent article we published concerning pirated versions of Halo 4 hitting the streets, we discussed the swift action that some game companies are taking in combating piracy. In the case of Microsoft, it involved banning the Xbox Live accounts of those who obtained and played the game illegally. In the age where information travels unabated and piracy runs rampant, you can’t blame the game publishers and developers for wanting to protect their assets. Just breaking in the news is another case, this time involving a lengthy investigation involving pirated Nintendo games being sold out of the United Kingdom. This time, they have headed straight to the source and put the shackles on the pirate himself.
If the name Justin Success Brooks doesn’t ring a bell, his middle name will at least have an amusing irony by the time you finish this article. He’s a 41 year old man from the UK who initially found success by selling pirated Nintendo games via a series of online retail websites that he owned. His stock in trade was counterfeited copies of popular titles for the Wii, as well as the DS and DSi handhelds. Some of the games were copies of full retail versions of a particular game, while others were sold as “multi-carts”, single game cartridges containing upwards of 200 games. Priced between £39.95 and £89.95, the sales made Brooks a respectable amount of money, £600,000 (approximately $900,000 US ) based on figures uncovered in the investigation.
Nintendo first raised alarm bells when they noticed certain online retailers selling questionable versions of their games. This led to an investigation that eventually led to Brooks, which has now led to a Croydon courtroom. Overall, the estimated loss incurred by Nintendo based on the retail value of the games sold illegally is £7.46 million (approx. $12 million US). Brooks has pleaded guilty too all of the charges against him, seven in totally, and will be sentenced on November 9, 2012. If this case proves anything, it’s that the game companies are talking a hard-line approach to combating piracy. Unless you want to wind up on the wrong side of the gavel, this is a practice we recommend you avoid engaging in.