Save Edit Mods and Video Game Key Resellers Are Now Illegal in Japan

A new amendment on the Unfair Competition Prevention Act makes modding saves in Japan a crime punishable by large fines.

In December, Japanese lawmakers pushed forward an amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act that effectively bans save game editors and similar console mods, which now can result in a hefty fine if broken. Other changes resulting from the amendment also makes it illegal to sell product keys for games without the software maker's permission.

The changes to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act are detailed in this official Japanese site, but according to a Google translated version, the following actions have become illegal as a result of the December amendment:

  • Act 1: Transfer of tools and programs to remodel save data of game software etc.
  • Act 2: Selling or posting on the internet serial code and product key that the software maker does not license.
  • Act 3: Perform remodeling of save data

As explained by developer Brad Parker on Reddit, these changes have resulted in the discontinued sales of products like Pro Action Replay and Cybergadget's "Save Editor." Nintendo Soup is also reporting that potential fines for breaking these new laws could reach as high as 5 million yen (~$46,000 USD).

One popular example of save edits is in the Pokemon games, where hex edits allow hackers to mod different Pokemon to have specific stats and attributes. Even Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee were hacked via this method soon after launch. Modder OatmealDome even warns that the SplatHeX tool is now illegal in Japan as a result of the new amendment.

Meanwhile reselling keys is outright banned in Japan, signaling one of the strongest legal actions against the practice from a major video game market. The murky legality of key resellers has made the proposition of fighting the practice in western markets vague at best, though key resellers frustrate many small to mid-size developers.

It'll be interesting to see how, if at all, Japan's recent changes will reverberate outwards to other major game markets like North America, Europe, and the rest of Asia.

Tagged with Hacking, japan, Legal, mods, News, Pokemon.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

The Best Resident Evil Games: Every Resident Evil Ranked From Worst to Best

In this ranking of the Resident Evil games, we decide which ones are Tyrant-grade and which ones are basic, brain-dead zombies.

Frostbite's Next-Gen Hair Tech Demo Is Super Realistic And Definitely Not Creeping Me Out

I am totally fine with the lifelike hair dolls and the tech that powers them.

Valve's Review System Doesn't Know How to Handle Positive Review Bombs

Assassin's Creed: Unity is getting positive reviews, but is it a review bomb?

Why Valve Making Its Own Auto Chess Is A Big Deal

The next step in a long line of mod succession is a big one.

The Peculiar Controversies That Have Emerged Around Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Versions of Cloud, Aerith, and Barret

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake hasn't offered much in the way of gameplay or storytelling yet, but it's sure dished up some drama.

More News

Frostbite's Next-Gen Hair Tech Demo Is Super Realistic And Definitely Not Creeping Me Out

I am totally fine with the lifelike hair dolls and the tech that powers them.

Valve's Review System Doesn't Know How to Handle Positive Review Bombs

Assassin's Creed: Unity is getting positive reviews, but is it a review bomb?