Nintendo steps up its fight against Switch emulators and game piracy

Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the creators of a popular Switch emulator called Yuzu, which gives users a way to play games developed for the platform on their PCs and Android devices. In the lawsuit, the company argues Yuzu violates the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

While Nintendo taking down online offenders isn’t new, this case could set a precedent for future lawsuits against emulators, which aren’t themselves illegal. Nintendo is arguing their very nature is unlawful. It could be a big deal.

Nintendo says it protects its games with encryption and other security features meant to prevent people from playing pirated copies: “Without Yuzu’s decryption of Nintendo’s encryption, unauthorized copies of games could not be played on PCs or Android devices,” the company wrote in its complaint.

Nintendo revealed The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was illegally distributed a week and a half before its official release. It was apparently downloaded over a million times from pirated websites, which specifically noted people can play the game file through Yuzu. The company also mentioned that Yuzu’s creators are making money from their emulator: $30,000 a month from their Patreon supporters and around $50,000 from the paid version of their Google Play app.

— Mat Smith

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