New Super Mario Bros. Wii was a massive hit for Nintendo last year, with reports stating the reimagining of the classic platformer sold nearly 10.5 million units globally in its first two months of sale. The game seemed to be a popular one for people illegally downloading it, too, with Nintendo saying copies of the game were available on the Web as early as November 6, 2009, days before its official release.
Now it seems Nintendo has nabbed a pirate and today reached a settlement against an individual in Australia for illegally copying and uploading New Super Mario Bros. Wii in November last year. Queenslander James Burt has been ordered to pay a damages bill to Nintendo of A$1.5 million ($1.3 million) and to cover the company's legal fees. According to Nintendo, this fee is to compensate the company for the loss of sales revenue caused by Burt's actions.
In a statement from Nintendo, the company said it used "sophisticated technological forensics to identify the individual responsible for illegally copying the file and making it available for further distribution". This led to police searching Burt's home on November 23 last year. Court documents also show Nintendo wanted any details and passwords found during the search relating to the Wii hack site www.yafaze.com. Visiting the site now only results in a message stating yafaze has shut down and that "the site and all of it's [sic] contents has been removed out of respect for Nintendo".
A Nintendo Australia spokesperson told GameSpot AU that apart from the loss of revenue caused by piracy of the game, the fact that an Australian was the first to illegally upload the game could jeopardise the release timings of future Nintendo titles. Typically, Australians have had to wait days and sometimes months after other regions for Nintendo games to be released locally. New Super Mario Bros. Wii was a rare occurrence where Australia received the game earlier than any other territory.
"Nintendo Australia is always pushing for games to be released here at the same time as the rest of the world, so we were pleased to get New Super Mario Bros. Wii before anyone else," the spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, due to the actions of this individual, future release dates may be affected for Australia, which is disappointing for us."