Emulation is an aspect of gaming which is considered a legal gray area. It’s mostly illegal, yet it is incredibly easy to achieve. It’s basically entry level piracy, and I’m sure many gamers would love to have a Nintendo Switch emulator working on their PC. Currently there is no such thing as a Switch emulator, but there are fake ones out there.

The Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and offered a statement regarding these fake emulators, as well as the dangers they pose. Here is an excerpt from their blog post.

“If you can’t get your hands on a Nintendo Switch gaming system, you may think an emulator is the next best thing. Think again. Online ads for emulators, sometimes with Nintendo branding, say they can run Switch’s games on your desktop. But there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam.” — Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, FTC

Fake Switch emulators can install unwanted software to your PC, which can wreak havoc in different ways. Some websites offer surveys claiming to reward you with a download after the survey is complete, requiring gamers to give them personal information. Victims of such scams can report them to the FTC here. The only way Switch games are playable is on the Switch itself—the legitimate way.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Sorted Under: Nintendo News
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  • Issus

    Well, i don´t really feel sorry for the victims. If you are that stupid.

    • Dan0709

      exactly lol

  • spacefan1993

    I personally don’t use emulators, despite people telling me I should if I want to play the games I want to play. I prefer the original console, mostly for legal reasons, but also to have a vintage item in my ever-expanding library of games. The only “emulators” I have are officially released consoles with games preloaded onto them, such as the Atari Flashback and the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console; if you count Nintendo’s own Virtual Console service, that makes three “emulators” that I use, all of which official.

    • Pajama Cam

      100% count VC.

      • Marandahir

        NVC and other publisher’s equivalents (Steam, PSN, XBL, etc) are the only legitimate emulators, since they’re licensed and everything is squared and teed. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

  • Ovlla Heatta

    cemu seems to be making awesome strides toward working well on a pc. So shove that “The only way Switch games are playable is on the Switch itself” far up your bum 😉 liars

    • Sandro Cassarino

      Can you run Switch games on a WiiU emulator? Nice job!

    • Marandahir

      The only legit way. Theft is not legitimate.

  • Ixbran

    If a person is so cheap and sleazy that they resort to emulatiin, instead of buying the product to support the company, then you get what ever you deserve. If a person ends up being robbed from a scam for downloading a fake Switch Emulator, well it’s your own fault for trying to take the cheap route. I don’t care if your living pay check to pay check for rent and grocery, yet you still wanna play BoTS or Arms or something. Support the company who made it and buy it legally. People who suffer from these scams get what they deserve it’s called karma, and it can be an absolute witch some times.

    • Chris Batchelor

      Ordinarily I would agree with you, but when I can’t legally purchase the console because it is sold out practically everywhere, I find it difficult to condemn someone hoping to emulate.

      • Ixbran

        Then save up for the next wave of said console to be release, that is a thing you know. If you miss the first print variation of something, theres always the second print, then the third, and then the fourth, and so on. You can also order it online on sites like Amazon, or hell even Walmart. My Walmart I work at still has two Switches in stock which I see on display on a daily basis while working, one of which I intend to buy with my upcoming tax returns combined with my recent pay check. If none of the places near you have the item in stock, look online for stores outside your state nothings stopping you.

        Again people who fall for scams such as this get what they deserve if they’re unwilling to financially support a company they claim to enjoy because they’re looking for corners to cut to get what they want.

        • Pascal Strauß

          Yeah, but the next “print” in this example is prebought by bots for scalpers and in way too low numbers. Im in the waiting list of my local shop since the release. Thats bullshit and Nintendo missed out here. At this point, they should drop consoles and focus on creation of games, thats where they shine.

          • Marandahir

            The Switch shines. They just need to up production, which they’re doing. There will be enough – just not immediately. Don’t worry: Zelda’s a long game, but not so long that it’ll hold you to the summer DLC, let alone all year. There’s probably other games in your back-library on the Wii U, 3DS, or other consoles. There’s plenty to play. Good things come to those who wait.

          • Ixbran

            Good things come to those who wait.

            Exactly. not to mention getting something is so much more rewarding after having earned it.

          • Ixbran

            its that defeatist attitude thats going to keep you from owning a switch. Really, whats the point in emulating a Switch and its games on the computer when the whole draw in for the system is HD Gaming on the go? Theres really no point in emulating a switch when you can’t even have the main draw in appeal for it.

        • ben wills

          What about games never released in North America but have fan translations and have never been re-released and a second hand purchase means Nintendo sees ZERO money.

          Yeah, thinking goes a long way.

      • Optimist

        That’s not at all an excuse.

        • ben wills


  • Valwin Mediaz

    you can barely emulate Wiiu how can people fall for this ?

  • Xaragon

    You should perform background checks on the emulators before you download them. See who made them, see how they run the games, there’s a wiki about it that compares emulators, describes what issues they have. There’s an Emulation General Wiki that shows you all this stuff.
    What beats me is why you’d want to emulate a Switch this early when Cemu exists for your Zelda needs.

  • Optimist

    So is it a sense of entitlement people generally feel that makes piracy okay?

    • ben wills

      No, that’s about the most close-minded thing I’ve read today. Try to consider all perspectives before you pull that card.

      Emulation tends to be used for archival purposes, to make sure that the art remains available. So when the game is no longer available, it has a way to be enjoyed. In many cases, emulation is used by people who already own the game, sometimes multiple times. It can upscale it to better graphics, framerates, controls, etc.

      In cases where a user doesn’t own a game, it’s because it’s impossible for them to do so. Maybe an old game isn’t being resold on any e-shop, and the only way to purchase it is by second hand (where the creators and publishers won’t see a penny of the cash transaction anyway). The other case is for games that were never made available in a region, like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. There is zero legal way for North Americans to play it legally, especially in English. Buying it second hand means that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems don’t see any dollar anyway, and it’s not in English. However, being critically acclaimed, it deserves to be played. So people emulate it for that reason.

      So, yeah, bit more complicated than your little elitist ramble made it out to be. Not cool.

      • Marandahir

        No, Emulation tends to be used for theft, first and foremost. Archival purposes is way down the totem pole of usage. And there are legal emulators. Just ask Nintendo’s virtual console service.

        As for imports, importing is always possible. Buying it second hand does give Nintendo profit – whoever bought it firsthand. Learn Japanese and translate it yourself, or find someone who can help you, or play the game without understanding it. Put in the work. Don’t resort to thievery because you’re lazy.

        • ben wills

          You’re a troll right? There’s no way any functional and logically thinking human says the stuff you’re saying.

          • Marandahir

            No, I actually take time and think out my thoughts and ideas, and I’ve been commenting here for years with my opinions. I’m also not a thief.

            I’m all for archival usage. I’m all for legal emulation. What I’m not for is breaking the law, or making excuses for people who break the law and steal someone else’s property. There are certain games I wish wish wish wish wish I could play – “Fire Emblem: Chronicles of the Holy War” is one such game. You know what else is? “Fire Emblem Gaiden.” I’ve been wanting to play that game for years. And fans like me – fans desperate to play, but not willing to break the law and steal the Japanese version of it and use a fan-made language patch to said game, have been lobbying for these games for years. And now, now that we’re actually supporting Fire Emblem’s franchise – which would have died if Awakening hadn’t had stellar sales – they’re going back and bringing these games forward for us. In a month, I’ll finally be able to play Gaiden, as “Shadows of Valentia.”

            Nintendo, like any corporation, listens to one thing: profits. If you steal the content, they don’t learn that fans want that content. Pay for similar content legally, and they will learn. This is why AM2R was shut down. It doesn’t actually incentivise Nintendo to make a great Metroid game themselves.

          • ben wills

            Lol you don’t take the time to think of anything. You implied I had the time to learn an entire time to learn the complexities of a language to understand the a game with a deep and intricate story.

            Of course I’d buy it if it was remade, goofball. If they actually make it available, they get my money, even if I didn’t like the game.

            And, no, Nintendo doesn’t see a penny from resale. The copy was distributed 20 years ago, possibly already fully used. It doesn’t matter if its resold or not, they’ve made the only dollar they will. Hell, sometimes resold things are from promotional copies that say “not for resale”. Glad you’re following their dreams :/

            Your lying was also cute. “Chronicles of the Holy War”? It’s GENEALOGY of the Holy War. I can’t imagine someone who actually wants to play it, and would be willing to learn a language for a single video game (this one seriously got me laughing hard) would get the name wrong.

            You should spend more time thinking. Clearly there isn’t enough.

          • Marandahir

            Sorry, I did mean Geneology, not Chronicles. I always confuse that name. Doesn’t mean I don’t really want to play it. I didn’t say I learned Japanese to play it either – I said you should if you aren’t willing to wait for an inevitable translation, given how popular FE has become. I did learn Japanese back in college, though I’ve mostly lost it now, nigh a decade later.

            My point about the resale is that resales are fine. Nintendo earned money on the initial sale. That copy existed because Nintendo sold it – unless you’re buying bootlegged copies. Please don’t buy bootlegged copies or pirate copies, as neither of these incentivise Nintendo with profits.

          • ben wills

            “You could also find a translation script out there, and read it as you play”

            Isn’t that also stealing their intellectual property? That’s the same thing as illegally acquiring a book. You’re reading their script for free! Worse of all, not in the way they intended!

            Ok, what about this? You buy the game from resale (from MAYBE an initial sale made 20 years ago before most of this site was born, but more likely a promotional copy). After making the purchase, you download a patched version to play it? What is possibly wrong with that by your moral code?

            I feel you should read these articles. It’s developers and professional outlets talking about how reselling is more harmful than piracy.




  • Marandahir

    I’m glad the FTC is warning people about the dangers of emulation software. But I agree with some of the other folks in the comments: preorder early if you really want it on day 1, or wait until more stock arrives. This isn’t life or death, and you have other things to do with your time if you can’t play Zelda RIGHT NOW.

    • ben wills

      Life can end at anytime. Don’t be so idealist and ignorant.

      • Marandahir

        Don’t be a thief. If you’re at actual risk of death, that’s horrible and sucks. And if you’re afraid of dying because of paranoia, I’m sorry for you too. But just because life sucks or you’re afraid of something doesn’t legitimize stealing someone else’s property. I won’t get to do everything I want to do in my life, and I have to be at peace with that.

  • Max Aaron

    Donald Trump supports emulators.