Nintendo lawsuit accuses Switch emulator creators of ‘piracy at a colossal scale’

Nintendo lawsuit accuses Switch emulator creators of 'piracy at a colossal scale'

Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the creators of a popular Switch emulator called Yuzu, which gives users a way to play games developed for the platform on their PCs and Android devices. In the lawsuit shared by Game File’s Stephen Totilo, the company argued that Yuzu violates the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Nintendo explained that it protects its games with encryption and other security features meant to prevent people from playing pirated copies. Yuzu has the capability to defeat those security measures and to decrypt Nintendo games. “[W]ithout Yuzu’s decryption of Nintendo’s encryption, unauthorized copies of games could not be played on PCs or Android devices,” the company wrote in its complaint. 

It’s illegal to “circumvent technological measures put into place by copyright owners to protect against unlawful access to and copying of copyrighted works” under the DMCA, Nintendo continued. And distributing “software primarily designed to circumvent technological measures” also constitutes unlawful trafficking. The defendants are, thus, “facilitating piracy at a colossal scale,” the lawsuit argued. This case could set a precedent for future lawsuits against emulators, which aren’t illegal in and of them themselves. As Ars Technica notes, Nintendo’s arguments are calling their very nature unlawful. 

To illustrate how much Yuzu has affected its business, Nintendo revealed in its complaint that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was illegally distributed a week and a half before its official release. It was apparently downloaded over a million times from pirated websites, which specifically noted that people can play the game file through Yuzu. The company also mentioned that Yuzu’s creators are making money from their emulator. They’re getting around $30,000 a month from their Patreon supporters and have earned around $50,000 from the paid version of their software on Google Play, so far. 

Nintendo is asking the court to stop Yuzu’s creators from promoting and distributing the software. It’s also asking for an unspecified amount in “equitable relief and damages.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.