Nintendo Halts the Use of Switch Emulators

Nintendo puts a stop to switch emulators

Nintendo Takes Action Against Emulators for Switch Games

Nintendo has announced its decision to crack down on emulators for Switch games. The company is taking action against dumping tools that extract encrypted keys from purchased Switch games, making them usable on other devices. Programs can then use this to create images that emulators can use to play Switch games on Android devices and PCs. In response, Nintendo has filed copyright complaints on Github against dumping tool Lockpick RCM and numerous forks, arguing that they violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA prohibits circumventing technological measures designed to protect against unauthorized access to copyrighted works.

Actions Taken Against Skyline and Ryujinx

Nintendo’s action against Lockpick also affects developers of emulators. The Android emulator Skyline has announced it will no longer be developed, citing the risks associated with a possible lawsuit. The team stated that they cannot proceed knowing they may be infringing upon copyright. In contrast, the developers of the Ryujinx emulator have announced that they will continue their work.

Legal Considerations

Many users consider dumping their own keys to be legal and justified because it requires an original copy of the game. However, emulators can also be fed with black copies that other people have made and distributed on the Internet. Before the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” black copies were already being distributed online, which is a red flag for Nintendo.

Timing of Copyright Complaints

The timing of Nintendo’s copyright complaints is notable, as “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” will be released on May 12, marking the most important exclusive Switch game in years. Even before the release, black copies of the title were distributed online, which can be emulated and played on other devices, a development sure to irk Nintendo.

Nintendo’s Past Legal Action

Nintendo has taken legal action in the past to protect its Switch. In 2020, the Japanese company filed lawsuits against the operators of several websites that sell hacks for the Nintendo Switch. A Canadian provider of hacking tools was even sentenced to prison, though he has since been released early.

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