While console emulation takes quite some time to polish, it is a near certainty that we will see each one reverse engineered to work on the PC platform. Unsurprisingly, we have yet to see a reliable emulator for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but it looks like things are about to change for the Nintendo Switch just 10 months after its release with Yuzu.
Yuzu comes from the team that created the popular 3DS emulator Citra, which was released back in 2014. Citra has since released its stable version, with its first fully playable title being The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and has since achieved major milestones such as being able to play Pokémon Sun and Moon with minimal flaws.
Needless to say, portable consoles are often easier to emulate due to the raw power a PC has over the smaller hardware. Home consoles are much more difficult to emulate due to the brute force method struggling with the higher-end hardware.
Announcing yuzu, the first Nintendo Switch emulator that does all of the things you didn't need it to do! Stay tuned for more from the yuzu team!
— yuzu (@yuzuemu) January 14, 2018
One of the most successful attempts at modern console emulation comes from Cemu, which released its last stable version late last year after two years in development. Cemu can already play the Nintendo Switch’s biggest title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 60 frames per second utilising multi-threaded processors. Of course, this doesn’t render the Switch emulator obsolete as there are still titles such as Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that are exclusive to the platform.
Emulation is in a constant battle between labels of open-source vs. closed source development plus the stigma of piracy, however the practice of reverse engineering is deemed perfectly legal, with the illegality coming from ROMs in particular. This topic is extensive, however, and differs between various countries’ copyright laws.
It is unlikely that we will see a stable version of Yuzu be able to run anything with a solid frame rate for a couple of years, as most emulators need some time to grow. That being said, reverse engineering has been conducted on the Switch since it released back in March 2017, so we might see it sooner than we think.
KitGuru Says: As a Switch owner who already owns Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I do find it interesting to see how far these beautiful games could be pushed on higher-end hardware, but I do worry how emulation could affect the console’s longevity if made too accessible, too quickly. What do you think of Yuzu so soon after the Switch’s release?