"Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection" Announced by Controversial Anti-Piracy Company

Denuvo, an anti-piracy company which PC users are probably all too familiar with by now, is expanding its preventative efforts to the Nintendo Switch platform. The company announced this move this week in a press release amid a Gamescom announcement of what it said will be the "industry's first Nintendo Switch emulator protection." The goal of this new technology is to better safeguard Nintendo Switch games from being emulated on PCs "with no impact on the gaming experience," Denuvo claims.

Nintendo and piracy have been two things that've gone hand in hand for a long time now given Nintendo's vast catalog of classic games and its criticized methods of making those games accessible to modern users, so it's not hard to imagine Nintendo and Denuvo partnering up in efforts to protect against Switch games. This also notably comes amid the release of the Steam Deck which certainly isn't marketed as a Switch emulator by any means, but in the buildup to Valve's new handheld device, you didn't have to look far to see people saying they'd be looking to emulate Switch releases on their new Steam Decks. Denuvo said in its release that the exact number of users who pirate Switch games couldn't be determined but pointed out that there are entire subreddits and other forums dedicated to piracy and emulation.

"Nintendo consoles have long suffered from piracy issues and the Switch is no different," a press release detailing the announcement said. "Even if a game is protected against piracy on its PC version, the released version on Switch can be emulated from day one and played on PC, therefore bypassing the strong protections offered on the PC version. This can happen with any of the 4404 games available on Switch."

Denuvo, for those unfamiliar with the anti-piracy service, is often blamed for poor performance in PC games where the anti-piracy tech is implemented. The integrity of those claims varies from game to game with Rime being one such example that was said to have run faster without Denuvo. Rime's creators ended up removing the anti-piracy tech after players delivered on a challenge of cracking that version of the game. Non-DRM versions of games like the one Rime became after the tech was removed are sometimes sought after compared to the versions that do have DRM enabled in hopes that the game will run better.

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Regardless, Denuvo claims that "as with all other Denuvo solutions," this anti-emulation tech to be bestowed upon Nintendo Switch games won't impact performance.