Content Continues Below

As reported by Stephen Totilo on Twitter, it looks as if Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the Yuzu emulator creators, Team Yuzu, alleging that their technology “illegally circumvents Nintendo’s software encryption” and potentially “facilitates piracy.” As with previous lawsuits against cheat makers, Nintendo is seeking damages against the company for these violations and is looking to secure an official shutdown of the software.



While the Yuzu emulator has been around for almost six years now, the reason Nintendo is finally seeking legal action has to do with last year’s release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Roughly a week or so before the game’s official release date, some retailers broke the street date and began selling the cartridges early. One thing led to another, and people were using Yuzu to play the game ahead of launch. Yuzu’s Patreon page also saw a massive increase in subscribers during this period.



As Nintendo alleges, this is proof that emulators enable piracy to occur. Several court rulings in the past have already determined that using an emulator is not illegal, but it seems as if Nintendo is pursuing a different angle here. Yuzu likely does not contain any official Nintendo source code, but if the software is breaking copyright protection or circumventing specific measures Nintendo has put in place, then that would be a legal technicality.


Why is Nintendo suing Yuzu now?


This part of the article is pure speculation, but it seems like Nintendo is targeting Team Yuzu right now because it doesn’t want to see an emulator for the Switch 2 emerge so quickly after its launch. While the Switch successor has a nebulous 2025 launch date, it could potentially be disastrous for the console if something like Yuzu were to appear within months of its release.


Who Will Lady Justice Side With?


When the original Switch hardware launched in 2017, hackers and modders discovered a hardware-based exploit that allowed homebrew to be launched. There was nothing Nintendo could do to stop this exploit, as it was baked into the console itself. Switch revisions have stamped out this vulnerability, but original Switch models will forever have an open door for software modification.

Due to this hardware exploit, emulators such as Yuzu and Ryujinx were created within a year of the console’s launch. One could point to the tremendous sales of the Switch to show how both of these emulators have not dramatically impacted Nintendo’s business, but Nintendo likely doesn’t want to repeat this scenario for the Switch 2. If the company can send a message by prolonging proceedings in court with Team Yuzu, it might deter potential exploitation of its next console when the device does officially launch.

Leave a Comment

Written by Peter Glagowski

Peter has been a freelance gaming and film critic for over seven years. His passion for Nintendo is only matched by the size of his collection.