Tears of the Kingdom Was Pirated 1 Million Times Before Release Per Nintendo Lawsuit

Nintendo is claiming that a company is responsible for one million copies being pirated, and we've got the details here!
The Legend Of Zelda Crafting Green Aura Rock Field
Image: Nintendo

In a lawsuit filed on February 26, 2024, in the United States District Court of Rhode Island, Nintendo is suing Tropic Haze. Tropic Haze is the developer of the popular Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu. The lawsuit alleges that Yuzu facilitated the illegal download of over one million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom a week and a half before its official release in May 2023.

Nintendo has stated that the Yuzu emulator allows users to illegally decrypt and play almost any Nintendo Switch game without buying the console or the game. (Thanks, IGN) They argue that using Yuzu constitutes copyright infringement as it involves decrypting the games’ encryption, which they consider a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

It’s easy to see why Nintendo is mad if that million copy figure is correct. The game was released early for pirated versions, so a million copies is a big deal. Nintendo has filed a lawsuit seeking a jury trial and $150,000 in damages for each copyrighted work and any profits Tropic Haze obtained from its alleged violations.

Nintendo claims that Yuzu’s Patreon page, which offers “daily updates,” “early access,” and “special unreleased features” for games like “Tears of the Kingdom,” is used to profit from facilitating piracy. Nintendo further alleges that Yuzu’s website provides instructions on acquiring cryptographic keys needed to play unauthorized copies of Nintendo games.

The legal discussion about emulation and its legality is intricate and continuously developing. Nintendo deems the use of Yuzu illegal because of the decryption involved, but the legal situation regarding emulation remains a subject of ongoing debate. It’s hard to claim your software isn’t bad when it was used to steal games.

The lawsuit mentions that Yuzu’s Patreon membership noticeably grew from May 1 to May 12, 2023, coinciding with the release window of “Tears of the Kingdom.” Nintendo suggests this may have led to leaks of the game’s story and gameplay details before its official launch.

We’ll see where this goes, but it’s hard to imagine that Nintendo will do anything but win big in this case.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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