Yuzu is a free and open source emulator that makes it possible to run Nintendo Switch games on Windows, Linux, and Android devices. First released in 2018, the software has been under constant development since then (the Android port was released less than a year ago).

But last week Nintendo sued the developers, claiming that the primary purpose of the software is to circumvent Nintendo Switch encryption and allow users to play pirated games. Rather than fight the case in court, Tropic Haze (the developers behind Yuzu and Nintendo DS/3DS emulator Citra – which is also shutting down) have agreed to a settlement which involves paying $2.4 million in damages to Nintendo and basically shutting down Yuzu.

Super Mario Odyssey in Yuzu for Android

As part of a permanent injunction, Tropic Haze has agreed to stop distributing, advertising, or promoting Yuzu or any of its source code or features… or any other “software or devices that circumvent Nintendo’s technical protection measures.”

The court is also ordering the developers to turn over the yuzu-emu.org website to Nintendo and bars them “from supporting or facilitating access” to any other related websites, social media, chatrooms, or apps.

In one of the more bizarre parts of the court order, the Yuzu team is told to delete all “circumvention devices,” which includes any tools used for development of Yuzu and… “all copies of Yuzu.”

That last bit seems… impractical. While Tropic Haze can certainly delete all of the copies of Yuzu on hardware under their control, the cat’s already somewhat out of the bag here – and I suspect that anyone who has already installed and configured Yuzu will be able to continue using it for the foreseeable future. And even if the Yuzu website goes down, it’s likely that the latest version of the emulator will continue to be distributed by third parties for quite some time.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond running in Yuzu for Android

Since Tropic Haze settled the lawsuit, it’s unclear what impact, if any, this lawsuit will have on the future of emulation software. Console emulators have long lived in a legal gray area, at least in the United States.

The emulators themselves often feature code that’s been reverse engineered to allow console games to work on non-console hardware. So the emulators themselves may not actually violate intellectual property rights.

But many emulators, including Yuzu, require an encryption key and/or system firmware from a Nintendo Switch. And odds are that most of the people using emulators are playing pirated games that have been illegally downloaded from the internet, or ripped from physical media (which may or may not be legal, depending on whether the games you’re ripping feature encryption and if you live in a jurisdiction where circumventing copy protection is illegal).

Tropic Haze and developers of many other emulators have long made the claim that as long as they’re not distributing copyrighted games, encryption keys, or system firmware they shouldn’t be held responsible for the fact that users bring their own.

But it’s unclear whether that argument would have held up in court, and it’s unsurprising that Tropic Haze didn’t have the resources to fight the lawsuit in what would have most likely been a very expensive trial.

Update: The settlement also means the end of development of Citra, a Nintendo DS and 3DS emulator, which was developed by the same folks who made Yuzu. Source code for both Citra and Yuzu has already been removed from GitHub, and the official web pages for the emulators will likely be taken down soon as well. 

via @OatmealDome (1)(2)

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

or...

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,547 other subscribers

Join the Conversation

27 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Here’s a simplified version:

    “Just wanted to point out that even though this emulator is gone, it doesn’t mean Nintendo won’t use the idea since they own Yuzu now. If Nintendo ever thinks about bringing their games to PC, they’ve got the method because they won a lawsuit. They can fix what Yuzu couldn’t. Just saying, having 2.4 million or getting Yuzu’s source code for free is a big help when you’re moving games to Steam.”

    1. Nintendo is hostaged to financial terrorists, forced to partner with NVIDIA and forced to produce slow hardware and Nintendo also forces illusion/delusion that using any hardware that is not provided through Nintendo’s institutionalization, that this enables propaganda shill narratives to label innocent persons as guilty such that even just 1 guilty person that is financed to infiltrate any quantity of innocent persons renders 100% of all innocent persons to be deemed as guilty and to abuse the innocents until they learn to become guilty as if no innocent behaviors are possible, and no consideration to even acknowledge any ability for any human to ever engage in any behavior that even qualifies as being innocent or legitimate because the narrative to manufacture consent on labeling as guilty is easy and minimal effort. Nonetheless, from what I observed, the bunnei (psuedonym) lead dev of the Yuzu project seems to have made mistakes and stole source code and claimed as their own source code, and covered up tracks to make it difficult to realize this, but even more blatantly obvious less difficult was bunnei’s Patreon releasing open source free software developments as “early access” which is shameful. Even suggestions why Bunnei did not contact the EFF Electronic Frontier Foundation to defend their role in development emulation software contributions, probably it is because too many coward mistakes were made, and the innocent persons that were not smart enough to connect dots are perhaps baited into being drowned out by guilty individuals lurking the entire time, feeding off the innocents to hide them and whatnot, but Nintendo also kind of is hostaged to similar phenomena albeit with a lot more money to have power and control over the people/players/creators. I am actually surprised that Nintendo is still neglecting and ignoring NFT technology for easy 10% royalties from all resales of games and whatnot, but I don’t think Nintendo cares about the money, and instead concerned about the power and control that comes with suppressing and mistake-based ignorance-based narratives and agendas

      1. innocent, for example, spending tens of thousands of dollars to legally legitimately lawfully buy Nintendo Switch game consoles, even more than one, and buy hundreds of Nintendo Switch games, sometimes even more than one copy per game, and to even still have decent job and lifestyle to be disappointed that Nintendo does not allow the games to be played on far more powerful efficient hardwares, so the innocent legally purchasing gamer consumers are interested to play their Nintendo controlled Nintendo Switch exclusive games on more powerful computer devices that are not proprietary Nintendo institutions and partners, such as traditional Linux operating system or other proprietary Microsoft or Apple or other operating system computers (laptops, desktops, handheld computers, mobile phone/tablet computers, etcetera), and since Nintendo is too lazy to provide any assistance or help to figure out how to even do this, then other humans can fill in that market role to figure that out, and legally do these kinds of things to fill in laziness of Nintendo’s ignorant negligent business model. However, even legally doing this apparently some brained humans are not able to even acknowledge or considerate any such innocent legal behaviors of any human such that not a single human is ever able to be innocent or legally responsible or accountable in this regard, and any attempt to even make it aware that any such human exists will be responded to by minimalistic shill narratives, even as simple as “Just buy a Nintendo and get it over with.”

        1. Also

          https://twitter.com/DesignGears/status/1764909383178502309

          “Yuzu behind the scenes. They fucked around and found out.”

          https://imgur.com/ZWoSZSt

          and I glanced through a few of the git repositories (I never looked until after all the shit that happened) and I notice that bunnei barely seems to have participated or contributed much of the effort at all, and it seems like that’s how the structure was designed intentionally, and maybe all the persons that put in the work were baited into being left as bagholders and whatnot

          1. https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.rid.56980/gov.uscourts.rid.56980.11.0.pdf

            TL;DR:

            IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a permanent injunction is entered against all humans and persons living and to ever become alive from using even a single brain cell, whether one’s own, or indirectly augmented or virtual or artificial, to simulate or even ideate anything related to Nintendo Switch or any exclusive games only available on proprietary hardwares provided by NVIDIAntendo. IT IS SO ORDERED.

  2. Gardiner Bryant has covered at length why these claims from Nintendon’t are such BS.
    What a ridiculous judgement.

    The time for a boycott is long past due!

    1. I watch Gardiner now and then…I agree about the boycott, they’ve been on my list for over a decade.
      I just do ‘everything’ emulation through my Steam Deck now. Best device I’ve ever used…absolutely love it.

      Best,
      Steven(Liquid Cool)

    2. Gardiner Bryant is an idiot. I don’t know why you think bringing him up has any bearing.

    3. https://courtlistener.com/docket/68284505/nintendo-of-america-inc-v-tropic-haze-llc/

      Update March 6, 2024 https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.rid.56980/gov.uscourts.rid.56980.11.0.pdf

      TL;DR:

      IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a permanent injunction is entered against all humans and persons living and to ever become alive from using even a single brain cell, whether one’s own, or indirectly augmented or virtual or artificial, to simulate or even ideate anything related to Nintendo Switch or any exclusive games only available on proprietary hardwares provided by NVIDIAntendo. IT IS SO ORDERED.

    1. Yep, already added a note about that to the end of the article (there’s not really room to put it in the headline, but maybe I should add a reference higher up on the page).

    2. This was the thing that bothered me the most. I was expecting Yuzu to have trouble from Nintendo sooner or later. You can’t have an emulator for a console that is current without seriously angering the maker of the console. Nintendo can make a legitimate argument that Yuzu was having a negative impact on sales.
      Citra is a different case. Nintendo shut down the 3DS eshop and no longer produces hardware or games for 3DS. This just seems like an 4$$hole move from Nintendo. There’s no case to make for a loss of revenue here. Hopefully someone will fork the project and re-release it under a different name.

  3. The shuttering of a CURRENT GENERATION emulator is acceptable (and was almost guaranteed to happen from the beginning), but the implications for independent preservation in general are full-blown nightmarish.

    1. I disagree.
      The Nintendo Switch is NOT actually a current generation console. It’s capabilities are far below the current consoles, such as the 2020 Xbox Series X. I wouldn’t even call it a previous generation console, as it was not capable of even the lowly Xbox One console and it’s ability.

      The Nintendo Switch performance is much CLOSER to the 2005 console of the Xbox 360. Now that would be acceptable for a pocketable device, like a DS Lite, but the NSwitch is far larger and has much worse battery life. Besides, even if it was a competent console aimed at your pockets, such devices also have a lifecycle. Just look at the original PSP which had an effective lifecycle between 2004 until 2010, so a generous 6-Years. The NSwitch would also be deserving of such timeframe had it been released in 2014 with its current specs, and ended it’s lifecycle around 2020. Meaning it’s about a full 5-Years over it’s life already.

      So whatever Nintendo is saying, doesn’t quiet measure up. They are getting old and outdated technology, and up selling it at a big profit. They’ve already made more money than sense. Now they want even more. Sounds like they want to eat their cake, and keep it too. But that doesn’t make sense.

      Nintendo either should’ve released the NSwitch as is, but with huge discounts on its games and system. Or maybe instead released the system much earlier (and pocketable). Or should have released the system so that it is compatible with third-party developers, meaning a much more faster and complex device. Or a combination of the above.

      1. LMAO

        One of their most successful products and the best selling console of this generation by far, but “Kangal” has advice on what they should have done differently. This idiocy looks like it was ripped straight from the WCCFTech comment section.

        “So whatever Nintendo is saying, doesn’t quiet measure up.”
        Cope harder. Yuzu lost, and they lost badly.

  4. Yeah that lawyer-written statement on their GitHub is totally incongruous with everything they put out before the lawsuit.
    I wonder if they can even afford the 2.4 million dollar settlement.
    I also wonder if Nintendo will going to stop here, or get really full of themselves and go after payment processors for having ever allowed Tropic Haze to get money (DMCA requests for Google and Microsoft won’t surprise me).

  5. Nintendo stock has done really well over the last year… with piracy beaten now, it should do even better.