Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Selling Cheats In Japan Will Still Get You Arrested

Last year, a stir began in the gaming community of Japan. Those who were caught cheating at a game, online games in particular, could be charged and punished by local law enforcement. It sounds strange. It may not be unusual for the company to pursue legal action against a customer if a lump sum of money was taken. In the situation linked, developer Nexon had over $80,000 (USD) stolen from them by 3 men, ages 17 to 18. But apparently that was enough of a loss that when the story broke, police officers were quick to go in and arrest the 3 men, which Nexon states they had no involvement with.

Not to be deterred, cheating still occurs in the gaming world. But the law officials in Japan do take it seriously because it can negatively impact business, and in the case of Nexon, was theft with the amount of money stolen.

Well, another arrest has occurred that now has more people worried. A man in his thirties, Akihide Yamamoto, was arrested for running a web store that focused on game cheats and exploits, specifically aimed towards the game Alliance of Valiant Arms. To note these are not GameFaq's guides, so don't freak out people. This was a store that specifically targeted issues in the games code and exploited it to give the cheater an edge. Yamamoto was arrested for violating Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Law. And this isn't the first time that's happened for Yamamoto. He's been arrested several times in the past for the same reason, but with different games. The cheat sellers are being charged, and not the cheaters, because the sellers are the ones most likely to benefit from the transaction, and can disrupt the business of others.

Being in a country that has a high crime rate by comparison to the rest of the world, junking up the legal system with video game cheaters seems counter-productive. But I'm also in a state where they are about to make open-carry of handguns legal, possibly on college campuses as well. My perception on what is, and is not a valid crime, is askew because now I'm going to think everyone is a criminal if I see a gun in their hands. Yea Texas. Thanks for that.

But I'll play the devil's advocate on this one. Given Japan's history and how their culture has grown, what may seem like a silly offense to us could be considered harmful to Japan's society. Their mindset is focused on the country as a unit. What you do for Japan effects everyone in Japan. Your goals are to make not your life better, but the country better. So one person profiting from the harm of another is considered bad for Japan. Therefore, legal authorities must step in and resolve the issue. While it doesn't resolve the issues and, clearly, people are still going to cheat in games, I can understand from their perspective why Japan finds it harmful. So laugh at it if you want. But their priorities are a little different from ours in the U.S.

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