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Yuzu is dead but Nintendo will need to play Whack-a-mole to keep the clones at bay

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Within minutes of the announcement that the devs at Yuzu had settled with Nintendo for $2.4 million and promised from the bottom of their hearts to never work on Yuzu and 3DS Emulator Citra ever again, the forums of Reddit were alight with people frantically grabbing source code and final builds of both emulators in the briefest of convenient periods between announcement and the downloads disappearing forever.

Next, the code, which is open source and can largely be altered by anybody, was being uploaded to file repositories and places like the Internet Archive for anybody to grab. Even the final Patreon-only version was there for everybody within a few minutes.

Within hours new GitHubs started to pop up, and Nuzu, Newzu, and the amusingly named Suyu were up and running. By the time you read this, there will probably be more.

Nintendo may have had the might to take down one of the two main players in the Switch emulation scene, the one that was openly profiteering around the launch of Tears of the Kingdom, the other, Ryujinx, at least for now has seemingly been left alone, although this could change any at any moment, but does it really matter?

The Switch is end-of-life but still makes Nintendo multi-millions. The bigger issue would be if the Switch 2 architecture and copy protection is similar enough that only a few tweaks to an emulator by a talented dev would be needed to open up that entire library before it has even been conceived.

The Dolphin emulator ended up catering not only for the GameCube but for the Wii as well. The difference is that the Wii was very much a unique piece of hardware, with unique controllers so the audience was limited. Now with the arrival of powerful PC handhelds such as the Steam Deck and the Rog Ally, Switch emulation on a handheld is much more powerful than the Switch is not only possible, it is simple.

Spider’s nest

So taking out Yuzu and signalling shots fired to the emulator community might have seemed necessary to Nintendo at this stage. But, just like when you disturb a spider’s nest and all the hundreds of tiny spiderlings scurry off in every direction, taking a hammer to Yuzu’s nest has spread its code to every corner of the internet.

No one fork may ever have the same impact as Yuzu did, or get to the point where it was almost considered mainstream, but to think that Switch emulation is dead as of this morning is unlikely to be further from the truth.

Featured Image: Ai-Generated by Ideogram

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