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PSA: Nintendo Switch Has No Emulator; FTC Warns of Scams

Only the Wii U has an emulator so don't get conned. But here at Shack, you probably already know that.


When the Federal Trade Commission gets involved with gaming, you might cock an eyebrow as to how informed it is on the topic. In this case, it is 100% right. There is not emulator for the Nintendo Switch, so avoid anything stating otherwise.

Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, an attorney for the FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education, wrote an advisory explaining that "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."

Thankfully, Shackers are a pretty smart lot, but if you are new here and are tempted by such offers, read on. Currently, only the Wii U has an emulator, CemU. While Nintendo and some purists view it as a questionable program that encourages piracy, it does indeed offer proper emulation without malware and won't make unwanted changes to your PC. The program currently is involved in a grey area with the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, having gotten the Wii U version to run on PC at 4K resolution. But again: this is not the Nintendo Switch version.

That said, here is the recommendations from the FTC on how to avoid getting scammed:

  • Don’t download anything that says it’s a Nintendo Switch emulator.
  • Don’t complete a survey to get an “unlock code.” That’s a red flag for a scam.
  • Keep your security software current. Set it to update automatically. Installing unknown programs can lead to malware.
  • Play Nintendo Switch at your friend’s house until you’re able to buy the real one yourself.

The FTC is asking anyone that finds such scams to report them.

Contributing Editor
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 19, 2017 10:00 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, PSA: Nintendo Switch Has No Emulator; FTC Warns of Scams

    • reply
      April 19, 2017 10:12 AM

      Kinda wish you'd get rid of the stuff about Cemu. While related it's not necessary for the article.

      • reply
        April 19, 2017 11:08 AM

        I understand the feeling about Cemu, but I put it in so people don't get confused. Zelda is a big deal and if they ARE going to download something anyway, the "legit" one is for the Wii U. It is not to condone it, but just mention that it is out there and clarify Wii U vs. Switch.

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