Tears Of The Kingdom Was Pirated 1 Million Times, Says Nintendo

Nintendo filed a civil lawsuit on February 26 against Yuzu software developer Tropic Haze, claiming that the team’s tech let folks illegally pirate 2023’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom over one million times a full week and a half before it even came out. According to the Mario maker, the harm caused by this software was “manifest and irreparable.”

Filed in the United States District Court of Rhode Island, the suit (that was viewed by Kotaku) claims that Tropic Haze’s Yuzu “unlawfully circumvents” the measures the company has in place by “executing code necessary” to bypass many of the technologies associated with the Nintendo Switch console and its games. As the Mario maker put it, Yuzu decrypts Nintendo Switch game files using an “illegally-obtained copy” of production keys that are secured on the console itself. These keys are then passed around on illegal websites, giving anyone and everyone the means to download and play the company’s games on systems outside of the handheld-console hybrid without spending a single cent.

Nintendo is obviously not happy about this, saying:

In effect, Yuzu turns general computing devices into tools for massive intellectual property infringement of Nintendo and others’ copyrighted works. […] Today, Yuzu provides any Internet user in the world with the means to unlawfully decrypt and play virtually any Nintendo Switch game—including Nintendo’s current generation and most popular games—without ever paying a dime for a Nintendo console or for that game. And to be clear, there is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption. Defendant must be held accountable for willfully providing users the means to violate Nintendo’s intellectual property rights at such a scale. The harm to Nintendo is manifest and irreparable.

Nintendo said that thanks to Yuzu—which makes console exclusives playable on Android, Linux, and Windows systems—The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom wasn’t just pirated over one million times, but the developers’ website gave detailed instructions on how to install the game while promoting their software. As such, the company is taking legal action against Tropic Haze, suing them for “trafficking in circumvention technology” and “unauthorized reproduction and distribution of protected works,” among other things. More specifically, Nintendo wants $150,000 in damages as well as any additional damages and profits Yuzu made from its violations (including the alleged $30,000 a month Tropic Haze makes from its Patreon), and demands the developers stand trial.

Kotaku has reached out to Nintendo and Tropic Haze for comment.

This isn’t the first time a Nintendo Switch game has been emulated unlawfully. Metroid Dread, the 2021 side-scrolling action platformer, illegally appeared online just days after its release. Despite reportedly being stolen over one million times, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was still a runaway success for the company, selling over 20 million copies since its May 2023 launch.


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By asm3a