Preservationists upset at Switch lawsuit’s shutdown of 3DS emulator

The shutdown of Switch emulator Yuzu has also led to the shutdown of 3DS emulator Citra, in a move upsetting some advocates of game preservation.

Citra was a 3DS emulator which was originally created in April 2014, and continued to see regular updates until February this year.

The core Citra team went on to create the Switch emulator Yuzu, and earlier this week a Nintendo lawsuit settlement saw the Yuzu team agreeing to pay $2.4 million in damages and permanently stop offering or marketing Yuzu or its source code.

However, the settlement has seen a similar shutdown for the Citra emulator too, a move which some commentators suggest is a blow for game preservation.

They argue that while Yuzu is morally and ethically dubious because it allows users to play backups of current commercially available software, Citra is somewhat less egregious because the games it plays are by and large considered archive titles that are no longer being sold by Nintendo.

Indeed, Nintendo’s closure of the 3DS eShop in March 2023 means the handheld’s entire library of digital games, many of which were eShop exclusives, have been impossible to legally acquire for nearly a year now.

As such, some have been arguing that emulation is the only way to access these games today, making it important for game preservation.

Holly Nielsen, a historian who specialises in play and games, noted on X that while she can access board games from the 1800s as part of her research, some games from just a few years ago are harder to obtain.

“It’s very worrying that in many ways it is easier for me to research games made in the 19th century than it is to research digital games,” she wrote.

“Unless there is a flood or fire at the archive, the games I look at are relatively accessible and playable. Not the case for many digital games. Just something to think about when it comes to emulation and preservation.”

Accessibility expert Laura Kate Dale also noted that Citra was useful for players with accessibility needs, and its closure will harm them.

“Citra, the primary 3DS emulator, being made unavailable sucks not only for preservation, but also accessibility,” she wrote on X.

“Citra allowed a method for playing 3DS games on larger screens, using accessibility focused alternate input devices / controllers.

“With a system you can no longer purchase games for digitally, piracy isn’t hurting a bottom line. Losing Citra undoubtedly means some disabled players losing access to the option of experiencing 3DS titles.”

It should be stressed that despite the arguments in favour of emulation, the sharing of ROM images of copyrighted video games remains illegal.

Related Forum: Gaming Discussion



"Preservationists upset at Switch lawsuit’s shutdown of 3DS emulator" :: Login/Create an Account :: 4 comments

If you would like to post a comment please signin to your account or register for an account.


such a shame, but niny are planning to put all their retro games on the switch


Been seeing this sadly. But oh well nothing we can do.


Psychonautic Nintitdo can suck my balls

100%. Taking down emulators make me sad :(


Nintitdo can suck my balls