Selling Video Game Saves Is An Actual Crime In Japan
We get how piracy can hurt indie developers, even when some actually take the time to thank pirates for popularizing their game. In the Western world, we see piracy as a very different thing from the save file market, and that's either because they really are two completely different things, or simply because no one is buying goddamn game saves over here. We did, however, find out that there's such a thing as a black market for such files in Japan and that Japanese authorities don't like it any more than they like piracy.
In July of 2021, Japanese authorities arrested 27-year Ichimin Sho for attempting to sell custom-made Zelda: Breath of The Wild save files. Now, you're probably picturing a trenchcoat-wearing weirdo trying to sell flash drives on a murky alleyway in Akihabara, but he merely made a post boasting about his custom-made save files that he described as "the strongest software" and got instantly busted for it. This was less Yakuza, more like the opening of Hackers where a kid gets busted by a SWAT team for the crime of being in that film, or whatever.
This is the result of Japan's law against unfair competition, whose creators seem to believe is the only way of preventing genetically enhanced Links from entering unmodified versions of Breath Of The Wild to chokeslam vanilla Link.
We don't know if Japanese players just miss the glorious times when single-player games used feature bonkers cheat codes, or if the illegality of custom-made saves got Japanese players to have as much of a hard-on for single-player cheats as Western players have for multiplayer ones. Either way, it seems like a surprisingly lucrative hustle. Before getting caught, Sho asked $31 for a piece of his strongest of softwares.
Top Image: Nintendo