Denuvo Launching Switch Emulator Protection at Behest of Publishing Partners

The move will affect people who emulate their Switch games on PC.

Infamous PC gaming DRM company Denuvo by Irdeto, who makes anti-piracy software Denuvo, has developed a new product to fight against Switch piracy called Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection in an attempt to prevent games from the console/handheld hybrid from being pirated on PC.

In an announcement post on its website, Denuvo by Irdeto says the Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection is meant to combat piracy, but will also prevent Switch games from being emulated on PCs, which people often do in order to achieve better framerates and resolution than the Switch can provide natively.

“We at Denuvo understand that piracy negatively affects the gaming industry and are working with the industry parties to ensure they have the latest protection technologies available for them. Our team is excited to provide a solution that helps the developers and publishers to help fight the issue of Nintendo Switch piracy,” said Denuvo by Irdeto Managing Director Reinhard Blaukovitsch in the post.

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In a statement issued to Kotaku, Denovu by Irdeto confirmed the company hasn’t partnered with Nintendo itself for this, but instead created its Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection at the behest of third-party partners, but couldn’t disclose who because of NDAs.

Denuvo is notable for often tanking performance of PC games, which has prompted both users and even developers to remove its anti-piracy measures in an effort to make games run better. Though the company denied this is the case in a statement to Kotaku.

“Software publishers and Denuvo take great care to deliver the best gaming experience,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “The protection is designed not to affect the gamer’s experience, and it does not have any in-game performance impact. It is the same for this new solution when protection is only active in non-performance critical code parts.”

Update: In response to follow-up questions from Kotaku, Denovu by Irdeto confirmed Nintendo Switch Emulator Protection won’t rely on online checks, citing the Switch’s mobile capabilities as the key reasoning for this. So if you were hoping to avoid this by keeping your Switch offline, it seems the company has thought of this.

“We are aware that the Nintendo Switch is a mobile console and therefore has limited online capabilities, so we designed our solution to be fully offline, no online checks required,” a spokesperson told Kotaku.

Also in a follow-up response, the company told explicitly told Kotaku this would block dumping games you own onto Switch emulators on PC, so anyone looking to circumvent this would need a jailbroken console.

“As you know, dumping your bought game for backup purposes is a long-standing argument from pirates that is simply used to justify piracy. The majority of players use emulators with ROMs from pirate sources and are not self-dumped. And if they dump it themselves, they will require a jailbroken console to do that.”