And Just Like That, Yuzu Is Gone

It’s over for them and another loss at the emulation community.

Yuzu has shut down after Nintendo won a USD 2.4 million case lawsuit against them accusing the brand of infringing copyright. Yuzu is a Nintendo Switch emulator available for PC and has just started going for Android. Emulation is not piracy, so accusing Yuzu of piracy is like accusing VLC of pirating movies. Nintendo should have just attacked the source, not the tool that makes the source work. Although, it is arguably easier to attack the tool because there are several shady websites hosting ROMs for Switch games.

While the lawsuit mainly attacks Yuzu, it also affects the Nintendo 3DS emulator, Citra as well. Coincidentally, both are named after citrus fruits.

It seems like Yuzu complied immediately, without counteracting. This means giving up its source code, its domain, and everything that is available of the emulation to Nintendo that may be used as evidence of “infringement”.

On its now defunct website, a copy of the notice sent first by its Discord Moderator, “bunnei” said:

Hello yuz-ers and Citra fans:

We write today to inform you that 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 authorized 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.

Yuzu Emulator Notice

After a while, it has also taken down the source code for the emulator but loyal users may have gotten it in their hands before it was shut down on their repositories like GitHub so Yuzu could still be out there in the wild and may relaunch under a different name.

While Yuzu emulates games, the emulator does not have the keys for a Nintendo Switch and installing the BIOS for it is challenging. We know because we tried that ourselves and we have to search far and wide just to find the right keys and even then we found it on a shady website. The ROMs themselves are also pretty hard to find or is pretty heavy to download considering their size.

Emulation is a very old thing, and has been so since the dawn of consoles. One popular emulator is ePSXe which emulates Playstation 1 games. In the context of emulation, piracy is debatable because this is one of the only ways to preserve game titles. However, the Switch is a new and still selling console so this argument is out of Yuzu’s question. However, who knows? Maybe in a few years once the Switch dies out, a new emulator will emerge that may run similarly to Yuzu, or entirely different.

Their closure does spark a wider debate on game emulation and their role on piracy. Nintendo is no stranger to taking down on companies and individuals that harm their IPs, even if this does not turn in any profit. This includes things like taking down a fanmade tournament, sending a cease and desist letter to RomUniverse to take down any Nintendo ROM even if it’s from an outdated console like the N64, and many others.

Sega, on the other hand, approves of fan games so as long it does not make any money or include illegal content, which is the best way to go to see that you’re supportive of your fans that made your brand big in the first place. Nintendo should just go back to building love hotels and selling card decks.

Source: Yuzu (defunct), The Verge