Nintendo sues Yuzu emulator creators for Tears of the Kingdom piracy surge

Zelda holding the Yuzu logo in Tears of the Kingdom
Credit: Nintendo

Zelda holding the Yuzu logo in Tears of the Kingdom
Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo has recently launched a legal offensive against the creators of Yuzu, a widely-used Nintendo Switch emulator, asserting that the technology employed in Yuzu unlawfully circumvents Nintendo's software encryption and facilitates game piracy using The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom as an example, a title that was downloaded illegally over one million times.

In response, the lawsuit seeks both damages and the complete shutdown of the Yuzu emulator. As mentioned by journalist Stephen Totilo, a notable aspect of Nintendo's claims is the claim that over one million copies of the highly anticipated Breath of the Wild sequel were illicitly downloaded through Yuzu before its official release in May 2023.

Nintendo points to a significant uptick in Yuzu's Patreon support during this period, presenting it as evidence of the emulator's business model thriving on the illicit distribution of games, despite allegedly being simply a tool for game preservation through emulation.

Link and villagers in Tears of the Kingdom
expand image
Credit: Nintendo
Tears of the Kingdom has been pirated over one million times according to Nintendo

Something that may not have as much weight but is still being argued by Nintendo is that Yuzu has not only enabled piracy but also spoiled the experience for fans by making Tears of the Kingdom available ahead of its scheduled release.

Furthermore, the lawsuit states that the creators of Yuzu accessed Nintendo Switch games from a hacked Switch, thereby violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Additionally, Nintendo claims that the Yuzu makers produced at least one unauthorized copy of each accessed game, constituting a blatant violation of copyright law.

Of course, this has opened the perennial discussion of emulation as a tool for preserving the history of gaming or just a way of enabling piracy disguised as something well-intentioned.

Emulators, when used within legal confines, serve as valuable tools for game preservation and accessibility. As the legal proceedings unfold, fans of retro games should pay particular attention to the case as it could set a terrible precedent for emulation, regardless of legality.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!