A recent amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act has made console modding illegal among many other things.
Here is what the amendment bars:
- The distribution of tools and programs for modifying game saves
- The selling of product keys and serial numbers online without the software maker’s permission
- Game save and console modding services
According to some more familiar with the situation, advertisers outside of Japan are being asked to remove any ads relating to such services.
Sadly this will most definitely affect small businesses around the country who make a living off of console modifications.
Most likely, these laws were pushed through the government with strong lobbying from video games companies. If so, this wouldn’t be the first time the Japanese government was moved so easily to alter the video game market.
In 1984, the Recording Industry Association of Japan and the Compact Disc and Video Rental Commerce Trade Association of Japan lobbied to revise the Japanese Copyright Act. They were successful, and the revision made video game rentals mostly illegal.
Video game companies can still give permission to rent their games, but since the revision it’s rare that any company does.