April 23, 2024

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Nintendo Switch emulator maker in court: 'Designed to steal Zelda'

Nintendo Switch emulator maker in court: 'Designed to steal Zelda'

Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the popular Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu. The app is said to have illegally broken the company's encryption to enable hacking.

With Yuzu, you can download ROM files for Nintendo Switch games so you can play them on your smartphone or laptop, for example. Yuzu is one of the most popular options for Switch, alongside the widely used Ryujinx.

Although you can dump your purchased games to create ROMs, many people use such an emulator to play files downloaded online. In many countries, downloading an emulator is legal, while downloading a ROM is considered piracy.

Cracked encryption

However, Nintendo has now chosen to file a lawsuit against the maker of such an emulator. According to the game company, this has to do with the decryption in this app. Switch games only work with a unique key stored on each game console. The makers of the Yuzu have breached this security, which Nintendo believes is against the law.

The Japanese game studio maintains that Yuzu was clearly created to download and play games illegally. The company indicates, for example, that one million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom were played with the software before the game was released in stores. Additionally, creators were paid double money via the Patreon donation site to improve support for Zelda.

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27,000 euros per month

At the time of writing, the makers of Yuzu are earning a lot from the app: fans are paying the development team on Patreon €27,000 a month to work on the software. This is much less than what Ryujinx receives, which is €1,700 per month.

It remains to be seen how Yuzu's case will end. This isn't the first time a gaming company has sued the developer of an emulator: Sony did the same thing in the late 1990s, after which a judge eventually ruled that the emulator would be allowed as long as it didn't use the same code. Like a game studio.