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March 4th, 2024: This page has been updated with Yuzu’s official statement.


Just last week, industry pundit Stephen Totilo reported that Nintendo had filed a lawsuit against Team Yuzu and its parent company Tropic Haze LLC alleging that the Yuzu Switch emulator had “illegally circumvented Nintendo’s software encryption.” While we didn’t expect a settlement to happen so quickly, today the court documents from the District Court of Rhode Island have revealed just that: Nintendo and Tropic Haze LLC have settled.

Sadly, that settlement doesn’t come with terms that many will find agreeable. Whether as proposed by Nintendo or Tropic Haze, the developers of the Yuzu emulator will need to pay Nintendo $2.4 million in damages and cease development and distribution of Yuzu software. As you can tell, that means the Yuzu emulator is effectively finished. While the website is still active, it’s likely only a matter of hours until Yuzu has been scrubbed from the internet.


Breakdown of Nintendo and Yuzu court documents


Over on Twitter, user OatmealDome has a breakdown of what the court document states. If you’re like me and simply cannot deal with legal jargon, this at least lets you understand the punishment that Tropic Haze will be dealing with. Considering both parties agreed to these terms, it could be read that Nintendo’s case against Tropic Haze was too strong to even consider fighting.



Yuzu’s official statement


With Yuzu’s official statement on the matter now present, we can at least extrapolate what this will mean for emulators moving forward. While Nintendo would love to completely stomp out emulation and have customers rely on software being available for purchase, the legal precedent set here is that emulators cannot circumvent software encryption.



Making backups or copies of your own legally purchased software and films isn’t illegal, but breaking the copy protection is. That kind of goes without saying as every bit of modern software has some kind of protection, but generally speaking, you’re fine if you don’t distribute it to friends or sell it for profit on a Patreon page. Yuzu openly promoted its Patreon and even gave payers early access to upcoming builds of the emulator.

As for whether or not emulators facilitate piracy, that would be hard to prove in a factual sense. While Nintendo claims it lost sales of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to Yuzu, the game also passed 20 million units in six months. Zelda sells regardless of a small group of people not buying it.

There’s always a risk that an emulator will allow people to freely play and distribute games, but the benefits to having an open platform for prospective developers to create new software outweigh any of the downsides. There’s also a case for preservation, which is becoming ever more important as digital shops begin to close and console manufacturers see no need to invest in backwards compatibility.

While this ruling is a sad day for fans of emulators, I don’t believe this will become a new precedent on the entirety of emulation. What would be nice is if Nintendo could hire Team Yuzu to get them working on an official solution for Switch compatibility on the Switch 2.


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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.