Switch emulator Yuzu shuts down in $2.4 million settlement with Nintendo

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Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu has shut down with immediate effect, as creators Tropic Haze have quickly settled the lawsuit with Nintendo for $2.4 million. Tropic Haze will be shutting down themselves, as well as ending support of their Nintendo 3DS emulator Citra as part of an agreement not to develop Nintendo emulators in future.

It’s a swift victory for Nintendo, who had sued Tropic Haze last week in what many feared could be a test of the viability of community created emulators going forward. Nintendo had argued in their filing that Tropic Haze were liable because, while not distributing pirated software, the emulator’s circumvention of Switch software encryption made them “secondarily liable” – in particular, Nintendo pointed to the rampant pre-launch piracy of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom last year, which led to an uptick in Patreon support for Yuzu.

After getting legal advice over the past week, Tropic Haze clearly felt it best not to face off against one of the most litigious companies in video games.

This does mean that game encryption circumvention isn’t being tested in the courts, so emulation will retain its legal grey area for personal use backups and the sort, but the main reason for the suit was that Nintendo could point to Yuzu having profited from an association with piracy – they also pointed directly to methods to break encryption for yourself. Emulator creators are often very cautious and careful not to associate themselves with piracy, which Yuzu had become.

Writing on their Discord (retrieved by IGN), the team writes, “Yuzu and Yuzu’s support of Citra are being discontinued, effective immediately.

“Yuzu and its team have always been against piracy. We started the projects in good faith, out of passion for Nintendo and its consoles and games, and were not intending to cause harm. But we see now that because our projects can circumvent Nintendo’s technological protection measures and allow users to play games outside of authorised hardware, they have led to extensive piracy. In particular, we have been deeply disappointed when users have used our software to leak game content prior to its release and ruin the experience for legitimate purchasers and fans.

“We have come to the decision that we cannot continue to allow this to occur. Piracy was never our intention, and we believe that piracy of video games and on video game consoles should end. Effective today, we will be pulling our code repositories offline, discontinuing our Patreon accounts and Discord servers, and, soon, shutting down our websites. We hope our actions will be a small step toward ending piracy of all creators’ works.

“Thank you for your years of support and for understanding our decision.”

This isn’t the end of Nintendo Switch emulation, of course, with a handful of alternatives that haven’t flown quite so close to Nintendo’s sun, but it is a bit of a setback for the emulation community as a whole.

Source: Court Listener, IGN

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