Nintendo aims to shut down popular Switch emulator Yuzu through lawsuit


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What just happened? Nintendo, probably the most litigious company you will find outside of a patent troll, is at it again. This time, the Japanese gaming giant is suing Tropic Haze LLC, the maker of the popular Yuzu emulator that arrived in 2018 soon after the Nintendo Switch launched.

In its suit filed in US federal court, Nintendo alleges that Yuzu violates the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The company adds that the emulator turns general computing devices into tools for massive IP infringement, not just of Nintendo's work but also that of others, thereby "facilitating piracy at a colossal scale."

Yuzu software lets users play Nintendo Switch games on various devices, including PCs and those running Android. It was also shown running on the Steam Deck in a video from Valve in 2022, though the clip was quickly removed and replaced with one that lacked the Yuzu icon in the library.

The crux of Nintendo's argument is the allegation that Yuzu is primarily designed to break the several layers of Switch encryption so users can play copyrighted Nintendo games.

Nintendo admits that Yuzu users need to supply their own "illegally-obtained" copies of prod.keys that decrypt an encrypted Switch game ROM, but it says that most ROM sites direct people toward Yuzu to play the games they're downloading.

"In other words, without Yuzu's decryption of Nintendo's encryption, unauthorized copies of games could not be played on PCs or Android devices," Nintendo wrote in the lawsuit.

Nintendo highlighted the example of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. A pirated version of the game leaked two weeks before the May 12 release date last year. It was downloaded more than 1 million times, and about 20% of the download links pointed people to Yuzu.

Ars Technica writes that Nintendo also refers to Yuzu's Quickstart Guide on its own distribution site. It gives instructions for "playing commercial games" with the emulator by hacking your Switch to access decryption keys and game files. The guide also features links to tools for breaking consoles and game encryption methods.

"The Yuzu developers brazenly acknowledge that using Yuzu necessitates hacking or breaking into a Nintendo Switch," Nintendo argues.

Nintendo is asking for the developers to cease working on, promoting, or distributing the Yuzu emulator. It also requests substantial damages under the DMCA.

In May last year, just before its scheduled arrival on Steam, Nintendo's vague legal threat stopped the release of the Wii/GameCube Dolphin emulator on Valve's platform. The company said Dolphin operates by incorporating cryptographic keys without Nintendo's authorization and decrypting the ROMs at or immediately before runtime. Dolphin does ship with Nintendo's Wii Common Key (Yuzu doesn't ship with any such keys) to circumvent the copyright protection on Wii, but the makers insist including it is not illegal.

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Nintendo selling gangbusters worth of copies, they should STFU and make good games.

Hope Yuzu wins the suit and Nintendo has to pay out millions.

BTW, zelda sold over 20 million copies, and nintendo is whining about 1 million ROM downloads.
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Yeah, Nintendo can f*** right off. Emulation isn't illegal, and the way Yuzu is doing stuff is allowing Switch owners to better play their games that they own, for a console they own.

As for the illegal stuff, sue the actual enablers. This just sounds like more petty Nintendo corporate BS.
Nintendo is and ***, again. They couldn't compete in consoles department, so jumped to an empty niche of portable gaming. But now with steam deck suddenly they again face competition and that makes them scared. I don't use yuzu, but really hope they would win - unfortunately, giving how courts in us world, it's a slim chance.