Nintendo blocking Steam Deck emulation videos

People have already figured out how to emulate the Switch on the Deck, and Nintendo is trying to keep the knowledge from spreading.


As far as game companies go, Nintendo is particularly notorious for being allergic to any kind of piracy or perceived misuse of their IP. Despite this, Nintendo games, and games for Nintendo consoles drive the emulation community like no other - and that community has already figured out how to emulate the Switch on the similarly-shaped Steam Deck.

Steam Deck On Track Late February Launch
Early adopters might get their hands on their Steam Deck as early as March.

Nintendo, of course, is having none of it.

Nintendo has always been hard on any form of piracy, and anything it might consider piracy. One of the biggest news stories of 2021 was about the draconian punishment doled out on a key figure of a company creating and selling hacking tools. The man was incidentally called Bowser, too.

This zero-tolerance policy has harmed fan-projects, conservation, emulation for years and years alongside, well, actual piracy. The latest target of Nintendo's ever watchful legal team is emulation on the newly released Steam Deck.

Valve Delays Steam Deck To
It looks like a Switch, it quacks like a Switch...

It really was inevitable that we'd end up here. The Steam Deck is, for all intents and purposes, a PC despite its handheld format. As such, you can do all the tweaky PC magic on it you'd do on any desktop or laptop, which is where emulation thrives. It's shaped a great deal like the Nintendo Switch too, so naturally people would try and emulate games from the console.

As PC gamers are wont to do, they succeeded. The Deck turned out to be a great emulation platform, and software such as Yuzu Switch made emulation downright easy. Content creators like ThePhawx have uploaded videos about testing Switch emulation on the Deck, showing off some impressive results - these varied game to game, but in some cases like Super Mario Galaxy, the Deck performed better than the Switch.

cropped-steam-deck-on-track-late-february-launch-3.jpg
What else will the Deck emulate?

Ever since news of the emulation prowess of the Deck went wide, Nintendo has been generous with DMCA takedowns. ThePhawx was among those hit, and the company is dealing out takedowns to other emulation related videos as well. Of course, once something is online, you can't ever truly get rid of it - and the cat is out of the bag.

Switch emulation isn't going to be stopped by Nintendo's efforts, as they can only slow the spread of interest and know-how. At the end of the day, this just goes to show that Valve has created a supremely versatile and flexible platform with the Steam Deck - and if they manage to cut down on the weight and bulk, it really does make the Switch obsolete in a sense.


Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. Graduating summa cum laude from Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi with a BA in Media Production, Aron has been a game journalist since 2014. When not writing, editing or playing, Aron is building models which you can find on Instagram.
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