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Nintendo goes after Switch emulator yuzu in new lawsuit

By - | Views: 57,508

Well, here we go. Nintendo have formally filed a lawsuit against the creators of the popular open source Switch emulator yuzu. Nintendo certainly aren't holding back on this one either.

Looking over the document filed February 26th, Nintendo give an example in their complaint with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom saying that it was "unlawfully distributed a week and a half before its release by Nintendo" and that copies of it were "successfully downloaded from pirate websites over one million times before the game was published and made available for lawful purchase by Nintendo".

A major part of the argument is how Nintendo say that "Yuzu unlawfully circumvents the technological measures on Nintendo Switch games and allows for the play of encrypted Nintendo Switch games on devices other than a Nintendo Switch". Nintendo go on to talk about how yuzu allows working around all the protections they put in place, and that "to be clear, there is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption".

To work yuzu needs certain things from a Switch console, of which the early models had an exploit where this was possible. The yuzu install guide mentions specifically you need a "HACKABLE Nintendo Switch", which Nintendo argue in the suit that "Users obtain the prod.keys either through unlawful websites or by unlawfully hacking a Nintendo Switch console". Because of how yuzu works Nintendo state it "turns general computing devices into tools for massive intellectual property infringement of Nintendo and others’ copyrighted works".

What's not particularly great for the yuzu team is a quote included in the suit from the project lead Bunnei, where Nintendo quote Bunnei saying "users probably just pirate a yuzu folder with everything" when replying to another user about the Quickstart Guide as it can be confusing for people. For context, this is a quote from the yuzu Discord server, but a follow-up post from another developer mentions directly after it "just to clarify on that last statement, we do not endorse, nor support piracy and the users who do won't receive assistance". Still, it's giving Nintendo easy ammo.

Nintendo are going after damages (which look to be quite high in monies), plus they want the yuzu website domain transferred to Nintendo control and the total shut down of yuzu as a whole.

This is going to get messy for yuzu, and for the future of emulation.

Via Stephen Totilo on X.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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83 comments
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Seegras Feb 29
Quoting: TheSHEEEPIf I can play Switch games on my PC, why would I buy a Switch?

If I can play Steam games on my PC, why would I buy a SteamDeck? Oh, hang on, I did.
TheSHEEEP Feb 29
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Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: TheSHEEEPIf I can play Switch games on my PC, why would I buy a Switch?

If I can play Steam games on my PC, why would I buy a SteamDeck? Oh, hang on, I did.
Your SteamDeck is a PC. Just a portable one.

A Switch is not. A PC can (within emulation constraints) do everything a Switch can, but not the other way around. Especially with portable PCs (such as the Deck).
There is a very good case to be made for why one would not need to get a Switch for (supposedly) Switch-exclusive games - if one was not worried about legality and fine with the additional work involved to make stuff run.
That's what worries Nintendo, making their actions against Yuzu not baseless, or at least understandable from a business PoV.

Imagine if Yuzu reached basically a plug'n'play level of usability.
I know it's easy to hate on Nintendo - and usually, they behave like a bull in a china shop. But in this case? I can't really blame them too much. They wanna sell their hardware, not just the games. Yuzu is without a doubt a budding threat to that.

If they started taking action against emulators for their old hardware they no longer sell, that would be a different issue.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 29 February 2024 at 8:24 am UTC
Pengling Feb 29
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Quoting: elmapulif only we had an publisher that made alternative games to nintendo games, capable of outputing the same ammount of games as then, with games that are different enough to no count as plagiarism, but similliar enough to compete for the same audience while at the same time, they could make better games than nintendo, as well as make high quality original games instead of just imitations, if we had all of this with an company that was actually ethical...
nintendo would be forced to improve.
Well, I don't have an alternate company, but I do have this list of games that I've been jotting down for the last couple of years that fulfill my own personal criteria for the general vibe that I sought out on Nintendo's consoles (it's not always direct equivalents, but very often it is).

Maybe I should finally do something with it and start a thread on the forum? Will you guys join in if I do?

Quoting: NozoEveryone should keep in mind this, if Nintendo wins this case it would set a pretty serious precedent and not only for the emulation scene, it would also affect even compatibility layers like Wine, imagine Microsoft taking down Xenia and Wine claiming to "defend their intellectual property" and without anyone being able to do nothing about it, killing any vestige of competition for desktop operating systems in the process as well as getting rid of the Steam Deck (something Nintendo will be pretty happy about too).
Nintendo has been extremely and excessively buddy-buddy with Microsoft for the last several years (to the point that I would say Nintendo has made some business decisions that undermine themselves and may bite them later). What you just pointed out paints that in a very worrying light indeed.
Quoting: TheSHEEEP
Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: TheSHEEEPIf I can play Switch games on my PC, why would I buy a Switch?

If I can play Steam games on my PC, why would I buy a SteamDeck? Oh, hang on, I did.
Your SteamDeck is a PC. Just a portable one.

A Switch is not. A PC can (within emulation constraints) do everything a Switch can, but not the other way around. Especially with portable PCs (such as the Deck).
There is a very good case to be made for why one would not need to get a Switch for (supposedly) Switch-exclusive games - if one was not worried about legality and fine with the additional work involved to make stuff run.
That's what worries Nintendo, making their actions against Yuzu not baseless, or at least understandable from a business PoV.

Imagine if Yuzu reached basically a plug'n'play level of usability.
I know it's easy to hate on Nintendo - and usually, they behave like a bull in a china shop. But in this case? I can't really blame them too much. They wanna sell their hardware, not just the games. Yuzu is without a doubt a budding threat to that.

If they started taking action against emulators for their old hardware, that would be a different thing.
I take your point. At the same time, just because Nintendo has a reason not to like something, doesn't mean it either is or should be illegal. "Felony contempt of business model" isn't an actual crime. Businesses have lots of reasons to love union busting, but I'm not going to say "Oh, well, that's all right then" when they do it. They have reasons to skimp on safety and let their employees die, too, et cetera.

In this case, at least some of what Nintendo doesn't like may be illlegal in the US because the DMCA makes it illegal to tamper with digital locks . . . on things you own. But in most places that is not illegal, and it shouldn't be in the US either. I'm willing to dislike people for exploiting a bad law that was bought by people like them for the purpose of exploiting it, to the detriment of the citizens subject to the law.
Ehvis Feb 29
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Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: EhvisThe weird thing about these lawsuits is that they are now targeting a company as "the makers of yuzu". I don't know anything about the development, but assuming that this company is the main driving force, it is still only a part of it. Second problem is that this is a US lawsuit using US laws that mean nothing for most of the world. So even if this went to court and Nintendo wins, nothing would change. The emu either continues directly or is forked and continued. So from a perspective of stopping emulation this is not going to work and is possibly going to have the opposite effect. So to me, it sounds more like a way of extorting a few dollars from US corporate entity.

i wouldnt say that, when the main branch of an open source project dies, usually there isnt any fork with enough momentum to keep things working (by working an mean improving instead of just have the same bugs and features that the original software had, without major improvments)

for example, audacity got purchased by an nefarious corporation and afaik their forks dont have enough man power to be an reasonable alternative.

Depends on a bunch of factors. Main ones are probably popularity and whether the original repo continues or not. Libreoffice did fine when it broke away from openoffice because it was popular and a lot of devs moved over to the fork. Since popularity doesn't appear to be a problem for yuzu and that a fork for it would be because the original got taken down, I think it would be fine.
This is worrying for the future of emulators, and the possibility of even going after older ones like dolphin

I guess snes9x and stuff like that should be pretty safe at least 🤣 which kinda reminds me how if Nintendo had it their way, we'd only be able to play their old legacy games through their NSO subscription service

The community do this for preservation, not to take money from nintendo
robertosf92 Feb 29
Quoting: Doktor-MandrakeThis is worrying for the future of emulators, and the possibility of even going after older ones like dolphin

I guess snes9x and stuff like that should be pretty safe at least 🤣 which kinda reminds me how if Nintendo had it their way, we'd only be able to play their old legacy games through their NSO subscription service

The community do this for preservation, not to take money from nintendo

Even if they did it for money, so what?

Making money is literally the result of finding a niche that people want and providing something that fills that niche. There are people who want to play Nintendo games and don't want to buy a Nintendo console, they use an emulator. If Nintendo released their games on PC, that would be all, no emulators needed.
Nozo Feb 29
[quote=Pengling]
Quoting: elmapulNintendo has been extremely and excessively buddy-buddy with Microsoft for the last several years (to the point that I would say Nintendo has made some business decisions that undermine themselves and may bite them later). What you just pointed out paints that in a very worrying light indeed.

Ye, but if Microsoft decides to go against Wine, they won't have an easy time, because Valve will support them in that hypothetical lawsuit, their support is guaranteed for obvious reasons.
But that would be getting too far ahead, right now Nintendo of America hasn't even proven any of the actions they attribute to Tropic Haze, some of the accusations are completely ridiculous and are actually Nintendo's fault, such as the continued leaks of their own games before launch.
elmapul Feb 29
Quoting: Ehvis
Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: EhvisThe weird thing about these lawsuits is that they are now targeting a company as "the makers of yuzu". I don't know anything about the development, but assuming that this company is the main driving force, it is still only a part of it. Second problem is that this is a US lawsuit using US laws that mean nothing for most of the world. So even if this went to court and Nintendo wins, nothing would change. The emu either continues directly or is forked and continued. So from a perspective of stopping emulation this is not going to work and is possibly going to have the opposite effect. So to me, it sounds more like a way of extorting a few dollars from US corporate entity.

i wouldnt say that, when the main branch of an open source project dies, usually there isnt any fork with enough momentum to keep things working (by working an mean improving instead of just have the same bugs and features that the original software had, without major improvments)

for example, audacity got purchased by an nefarious corporation and afaik their forks dont have enough man power to be an reasonable alternative.

Depends on a bunch of factors. Main ones are probably popularity and whether the original repo continues or not. Libreoffice did fine when it broke away from openoffice because it was popular and a lot of devs moved over to the fork. Since popularity doesn't appear to be a problem for yuzu and that a fork for it would be because the original got taken down, I think it would be fine.

the issue is that nintendo will keep going after the most popular ones, so either we split the popularity at a bunch or we get screwed from times to times and have to found new project leaders and more volunteers/paid people/donnnators to keep the project afloat.
even if the projects can keep up with that it will be a mess with people not knowing wich branch to follow and maybe even geting some malwares in the process.
Tropic Haze LLC responded to the Nintendo summons and they have a lawyer now: https://twitter.com/pc_focus_/status/1763601710314889356
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