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Game Over, Yuzu: Nintendo Switch Emulator Will Shut Down and Pay $2.4 Million

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Nintendo has a history of not just stopping video game pirates, but ruining their lives. The Mario maker sued Yuzu, a notorious free emulator of the Nintendo Switch just last week. On Monday, the developers behind Yuzu agreed to shut down the website entirely and pay Nintendo $2.4 million dollars, according to court documents. Citra, another free and open-source emulator for Nintendo’s 3DS run by the same company, will also shut down.

“We write today to inform you that Yuzu and Yuzu’s support of Citra are being discontinued, effective immediately,” said Bunnei in a post on Monday, a lead contributor on the emulators. “We started the projects in good faith, out of passion for Nintendo and its consoles and games, and were not intending to cause harm.”

The developers behind Yuzu and Citra, Tropic Haze, were video game lovers and made products to enable greater access to Nintendo’s games. However, this involved piracy and theft, according to the court. The website yuzu-emu.org will be immediately transferred to Nintendo, and Yuzu’s creators are legally barred from creating anything like it.

The developers behind Yuzu didn’t put up much of a fight in this legal battle with Nintendo. The code repositories behind Yuzu and Citra have already been removed from Github, as first spotted by The Verge. The open-sourced project could be replicated by other actors, but doing so could land someone else in a similar situation to Tropic Haze.

Users in the subreddit r/yuzu have rushed to download and save the latest versions of Yuzu in the last week before they are deleted permanently. The subreddit, which has over 86,000 members, was filled with farewell messages to the beloved platform on Monday.

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Nintendo claims that Yuzu’s entire purpose was to circumvent Nintendo’s copyright protections. It didn’t help Tropic Haze in court that Yuzu’s software was often used to leak game content before its official release, according to Yuzu’s admins.

In 2019, Yuzu released an update that allowed classic Nintendo games to run at a full 60 frames per second, the same performance you’d get on the actual Switch hardware. It was a pivotal moment for the emulator, making its free, open-sourced Nintendo games about as enjoyable as the real thing.

There’s often not much money in piracy projects like this, and the legal fees alone could crush the once-Nintendo enthusiasts. Yuzu was making roughly $28,000 per month on Patreon, but it’s unclear how many admins there really are or how profitable the company is. The Patreon will shut down as part of the lawsuit.

Yuzu and Citra’s story is a familiar one. Last month, video game pirate Gary Bowser shared with The Guardian how he is facing a lifetime of debt after his legal battle with Nintendo. The company is historically ruthless about making examples out of large video game pirates, and Nintendo made no exception with Yuzu.

Source: Gizmodo

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