Yuzu Fork: The Rise and Fall of a Nintendo Switch Emulator

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If you are a fan of Nintendo Switch games, you might have heard of Yuzu, a popular open-source emulator that allows you to play Switch games on your PC. But did you know that there was a fork of Yuzu that claimed to offer better performance, features, and compatibility? Did you also know that this fork was recently shut down by GitHub due to a DMCA takedown request from Nintendo? In this blog post, we will explore the story behind Yuzu Fork, why it was controversial, and what it means for the future of Switch emulation.

What is Yuzu Fork?

Yuzu Fork was a modified version of Yuzu, created by a group of developers who were dissatisfied with the original project. They claimed that Yuzu was slow, buggy, and lacked important features such as online multiplayer, save states, and cheats. They also accused the Yuzu team of being greedy, elitist, and unresponsive to the community’s feedback.

Yuzu Fork aimed to fix these issues by implementing various optimizations, enhancements, and hacks that improved the emulation quality and performance. Some of the notable features of Yuzu Fork were:

  • Resolution scaling:

  • This allowed users to increase or decrease the resolution of the games, making them look sharper or smoother depending on their preference.
  • Texture filtering:

  • This improved the appearance of the textures, reducing the pixelation and blurriness that often plagued Switch games.
  • Async shader compilation:

  • This reduced the stuttering and freezing that occurred when loading new shaders, which are the graphical effects that give the games their visual style.
  • Online multiplayer:

  • This enabled users to play online with other Yuzu Fork users, using a custom server that bypassed Nintendo’s official network.
  • Save states:

  • This allowed users to save and load their game progress at any point, without relying on the in-game save system.
  • Cheats:

  • This gave users access to various cheat codes that could modify the game’s behavior, such as infinite health, money, or items.

Yuzu Fork was distributed as a standalone executable file, along with a custom launcher that updated the emulator automatically. The developers also provided a Patreon page, where users could support the project and get access to exclusive features and early builds.

Why was Yuzu Fork controversial?

Yuzu Fork was controversial for several reasons, both technical and ethical. Some of the main criticisms that Yuzu Fork faced were:

  • It violated the GPL license:

  • Yuzu Fork was based on Yuzu, which was licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This license requires that any derivative work must also be open-source and share the source code with the public. However, Yuzu Fork did not comply with this requirement and kept its source code private. This was seen as a breach of the GPL license and a disrespect to the original Yuzu developers who shared their work freely.
  • It used stolen code:

  • Yuzu Fork was accused of using code from other emulators without giving proper credit or permission. For example, some of the features of Yuzu Fork, such as resolution scaling and texture filtering, were allegedly copied from Ryujinx, another Switch emulator. Additionally, some of the online multiplayer code was reportedly taken from Cemu, a Wii U emulator. These allegations were supported by evidence such as similar bugs, comments, and variable names in the code.
  • It enabled piracy:

  • Yuzu Fork was seen as a tool that enabled and encouraged piracy, as it allowed users to play Switch games without owning the console or the cartridges. Moreover, Yuzu Fork’s online multiplayer feature bypassed Nintendo’s official network, which required a paid subscription and a valid console ID. This was considered a violation of Nintendo’s intellectual property rights, and a potential threat to their sales and revenue.
  • It harmed the emulation community:

  • Yuzu Fork was criticized for creating a rift in the emulation community, by competing with and disparaging the original Yuzu project. The developers of Yuzu Fork often made negative remarks about the Yuzu team, calling them incompetent, lazy, and corrupt. They also claimed that they were the only ones who cared about the users and that Yuzu was holding back the emulation progress. These statements caused confusion and hostility among the users, who were divided into supporters and detractors of Yuzu Fork.

What happened to Yuzu Fork?

Yuzu Fork’s downfall came on February 28, 2024, when GitHub, the platform that hosted the project’s files, received a DMCA takedown request from Nintendo. The request claimed that Yuzu Fork infringed Nintendo’s copyrights, trademarks, and patents, and demanded that GitHub remove the project’s repository and all related files.

GitHub complied with the request, and Yuzu Fork was effectively shut down. The developers of Yuzu Fork announced the news on their Discord server and expressed their frustration and disappointment. They also blamed the Yuzu team for reporting them to Nintendo and accused them of being jealous and spiteful.

The Yuzu team denied any involvement in the takedown and stated that they had no ill will towards Yuzu Fork. They also reiterated their stance on respecting Nintendo’s rights and urged the users to do the same.

What does this mean for the future of Switch emulation?

The shutdown of Yuzu Fork was a major blow to the Switch emulation scene, as it removed one of the most popular and advanced emulators available. Many users who relied on Yuzu Fork for playing their favorite games were left without an alternative, and some even lost their saved data and progress.

However, the shutdown of Yuzu Fork does not mean the end of Switch emulation. The original Yuzu project is still active and improving, and has recently added some of the features that Yuzu Fork had, such as resolution scaling and async shader compilation. Ryujinx is also a viable option, as it offers similar performance and compatibility to Yuzu, and has some unique features such as mod support and custom themes.

Moreover, the shutdown of Yuzu Fork could also be seen as a wake-up call for the emulation community, as it highlighted the importance of respecting the GPL license, giving credit to other developers, and avoiding piracy. By following these principles, the emulation community can foster a healthy and collaborative environment, and avoid legal troubles and conflicts.

FAQs

What is Yuzu?

Yuzu is an open-source emulator that allows you to play Nintendo Switch games on your PC.

What is Yuzu Fork?

Yuzu Fork was a modified version of Yuzu that offered better performance, features, and compatibility.

Why was Yuzu Fork shut down?

Yuzu Fork was shut down by GitHub due to a DMCA takedown request from Nintendo, who claimed that Yuzu Fork infringed their intellectual property rights.

Can I still use Yuzu Fork?

No, Yuzu Fork is no longer available, and using it could expose you to legal risks and malware.

What are the alternatives to Yuzu Fork?

The alternatives to Yuzu Fork are Yuzu and Ryujinx, which are both open-source and actively developed Switch emulators.

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