US Customs authorities launched Wednesday a sweeping crackdown on the sale and distribution of modified chips for game consoles.
Federal agents executed 32 search warrants in 16 states including California, Florida, Hawaii and New York.
"This investigation represents the largest national enforcement action of its kind targeting this type of illegal activity," a statement from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) read.
The banned chips and devices "let users play illegally obtained, pirated and/or counterfeit software on video game consoles including Sony?s Playstation 2, Microsoft?s XBOX and XBOX 360, and Nintendo?s Wii."
The targets were "subjects who are allegedly involved in the direct importation, installation, sale, and distribution of the devices that are of foreign manufacture and smuggled into the United States," the statement read.
Microsoft today issued the following statement in support of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?s anti-piracy enforcement actions:
"Microsoft applauds ICE for its effort to reduce piracy and protect the intellectual property of Microsoft and its industry partners. This is an important step in the continuing fight against piracy and the threat it presents to the global economy and consumers throughout the world."
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, counterfeiting and piracy costs the US economy between 200 billion and 250 billion a year.