Nintendo 3DS emulator Citra taken offline as collateral damage in Yuzu lawsuit settlement

The developers of Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu entered a surprise settlement with Nintendo on Monday, agreeing to pay the game company $2.4 million in damages and cease development and distribution of the emulator. Now, as a result of that settlement, Citra—a 3DS emulator that shared developers with Yuzu—has also been taken offline.

The Citra Twitter account posted a message that was originally shared in the Yuzu Discord, addressed to “Yuz-ers and Citra fans,” stating that “Yuzu and Yuzu’s support of Citra are being discontinued, effective immediately.”

The Github repository holding Citra’s code has been shut down. In Yuzu’s settlement with Nintendo, the emulator developers agreed to “surrender, and permanently cease to use… any other website or system that Defendant or its members own or control, directly or indirectly, that involves Nintendo’s Intellectual Property, to Plaintiff’s control.” 4, 2024

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Nintendo’s lawsuit was technically targeting Tropic Haze, LLC, a company that the Yuzu developers presumably formed to facilitate handling Patreon income; since the two emulators share the same founders, it seems likely that Citra is collateral damage falling under the bit of the settlement quoted above.

Citra actually predates Yuzu (and the Nintendo Switch itself) by several years; it was first created in 2014, and over time became the de facto emulator for playing the 3DS handheld on PCs and Android phones. Many of Citra’s core developers went on to work on Yuzu, which unsurprisingly became their bigger focus: the Switch was the newer, more exciting console, and the Yuzu Patreon proved lucrative, eventually earning tens of thousands of dollars per month around the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in 2023.

The 3DS emulator is likely dead under its current name, but this may not be the end of its story. As with most open source software, Citra had many contributors, some of whom likely had nothing to do with Yuzu’s developers, and archives and forks of the emulator’s code are doubtless already out there. We may see it pop back up with a new name and team in the coming weeks.

Citra also isn’t the only 3DS emulator in the world: there are others, including Mikage and Panda3DS, that can also effectively run a number of 3DS games. 

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