Nintendo is suing the creators of Switch emulator Yuzu for 'unlawfully' circumventing its tech

Nintendo is suing one of the makers of Yuzu, one of the most popular Switch emulators on the Internet, for 'facilitating piracy at a colossal scale.'

1 minute & 34 seconds read time

Nintendo of America has filed a lawsuit against the developers of the Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu for "facilitating piracy at a colossal scale," aiming to shut development down and destroy all copies.

Nintendo is suing the creators of Switch emulator Yuzu for 'unlawfully' circumventing its tech 01

As an emulator, Yuzu allows users to play Switch games on a Windows PC or similar device, which makes it (according to Nintendo) a tool for "massive intellectual property infringement of Nintendo and others' copyrighted works." The lawsuit claims that the developers of Yuzu 'unlawfully' bypassed its hardware encryption and, by doing so, allowed games to run on other hardware.

With the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in 2023 (check out our full review of this masterpiece here), the game leaked ahead of its launch - with many running the game at full speed with the Yuzu emulator ahead of its official console launch.

As part of its lawsuit, Nintendo asks for $2,500 in damages for every violation of the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Plus, an additional $150,000 for each copyright violation.

Nintendo is looking to add up every Yuzu download and every illegal copy of Switch games floating around the Internet.

Here's the thing: emulators and emulation in and of itself are not illegal (though it's a grey area), which is why Nintendo is focusing on circumventing its encryption and DMCA violations. The way Yuzu works is more of a BIOS hack where you need to inject data from your Switch hardware (or download it), with the developer offering detailed instructions on getting it and Switch games up and running.

Nintendo claims that Yuzu's only purpose is to emulate Switch games by circumventing its technology. Products "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access" violate the DMCA.

Yuzu is widespread and also available on Android. Development is supported via Patreon, with 7,400 contributors giving the developers nearly $30,000 monthly.

You can read the full lawsuit document at The Verge.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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