Yuzu Switch Emulator: How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on PC - TechWiser (2024)

Nintendo recently launched the portable version of its highly popular console – Nintendo switch lite. The major difference between the two is that the original Switch can be played on your TV or in handheld mode, while the Lite can only be in handheld mode.

If you are planning to buy a new Nintendo switch or lite, but are not sure if you would like their game catalog, you can use Yuzu Switch Emulator, to play Nintendo games on your PC. The emulator is still a work in progress. The Vulkan back-end hasn’t been added. Moreover, performance is spotting on anything apart from the best processors. However, it works and popular games like Super Mario Odyssey can be run on your PC.

How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on PC

Today, we’ll be having a look at how to set up Yuzu. After that, we’ll get into some performance figures for Super Mario Odyssey. There is one important thing to keep in mind. We don’t condone piracy here. It’s important that you only use games you own for Switch with Yuzu. In order for them to work, you need to extract decryption keys. The Yuzu Github page has a handy step-by-step guide on how to do this. Before reading this guide, you might want to have a look at that first. You’ll need the title.keys and prod.keys for whichever game it is that you’re going to play.

Before we get into the guide, let me give you a quick look at my hardware platform. While Yuzu is playable on many systems, you should note that it is still a very intensive program. If you’re running anything less than a dedicated modern gaming rig, now’s a good time to turn back. You just won’t get playable framerates.

Our Test Platform

  • CPU: Ryzen 1600, overclocked to 3.6 GHz
  • GPU: RTX 2070 Super, overclocked to 1980 GHz
  • RAM: 16GB of Dual-channel DDR4 RAM at 2733 MHz
  • Storage: 128GB Foresee M.2 SSD + 240GB Kingston A400 SATA SSD
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 DS3H
  • Power Supply: Cooler Master MWE 550 Bronze

For reference, if you’re expecting similar performance, a Haswell i5 or i7, such as the i7-4770K is the minimum. In the GPU department, you’ll want something like a 1050 Ti at a minimum. If you’re planning on running at higher resolutions, a GTX 1070/Vega 56 is a starting point. Again, keep in mind that this will not run wellon typical laptop hardware. Well, with that out of the way, let’s get into the setup process.

Download Yuzu

There are two ways that you can install Yuzu. You can either download the Web installer from the Yuzu website or directly download the latest build off of Github. We’ll show you how to do both. In my experience, though, the direct Github download was faster.

To set up the Yuzu Web Installer:

1. Visit the Yuzu Downloads page here.

2. Click on Download

3. Once downloaded, run the installer as Administrator

4. Click on Install

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5. You’ll want to copy your prod.key and title.key files to the Yuzu AppData folder. You can find it here: C:\Users\(Username)\AppData\Roaming\yuzu\keys

Yuzu Switch Emulator: How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on PC - TechWiser (2)

To set up the Yuzu Github build directly

1.Visit the Yuzu Github canary release channel here.

2. Click on the link highlighted in the following screenshot, to download Yuzu

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3. Use a Zip extractor to extract the files wherever you want them

4. Run Yuzu once. You can do this by right-clicking yuzu.exe and running as administrator. This’ll set up the key folder.

5. Copy your prod.key and title.key files to the key folder in Yuzu AppData. We mentioned how to do this earlier.

The Web installer is simpler to set up. However, in our experience, the download speed was inconsistent. Even on a 50 Mbps connection, it took well over 10 minutes just to get to 20 percent. I downloaded the Github version in a couple of seconds.

How to play games on Yuzu:

To be on the safe side, we suggest that you have a look at this game dumping guide to dump legitimate copies of games you own on a Switch, before using them in Yuzu. However, if you own the license to a game and you live in a jurisdiction where it’s allowed, you can get hold of Switch game images. These have either the .xci or .nsp file extensions. This can save you time in dumping the file. We’re using a Super Mario Odyssey .nsp here. To play a game on Yuzu:

1. Run Yuzu as administrator

If you installed Yuzu using the Web installer, the executable will be in your Local AppData folder, here: C:\Users\(Username)\AppData\Local\yuzu\canary

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2. Load the game image

Click on File, then click on Load File, then select your Switch game image

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3. You can start playing. Optionally, you can go to Emulation, then Configure to set controls up according to your preference.

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How does Yuzu Perform?

I’ve attached gameplay snipped of Yuzu below. It was recorded using FRAPs. In-game performance recording enabled is a bit higher, but the general scenario is easy to observe. Yuzu struggles, a lot. You can tweak the emulator a bit by enabling the Asynchronous GPU setting under Graphics in the configuration panel. Even then, though, yuzu struggles to maintain 30 FPS in-game at times. Because shaders are being loaded in constantly, there is significant hitching and stutter. This goes away with time.

But even then, it’s a profoundly compromised experience. The stutter is the main limiting factor. Once loading is done for an area, Super Mario Odyssey often runs between 50-60 FPS there. However, run any further and you get more framerate drops. Another issue is that, since the game uses dynamic resolution scaling, the low framerate causes it to drop the resolution. This results in a blurry image. All in all, it’s not an ideal way of playing the game.

Should you use it now?

This isn’t meant to be criticism, though. It needs to be remembered that the Switch is an eighth-gen console. It runs many of the same games the PS4 and Xbox One do, like Doom. The very fact that just a year into development, Yuzu’s already delivering 60 FPS in places is a big deal. For now, we’d advise against using Yuzu unless you’ve got a top-tier overclocked processor. For the rest of us, another year’s worth of cumulative updates should get the emulator into a playable condition. We’ll keep our eyes peeled and let you know.


Yuzu Switch Emulator: How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on PC - TechWiser (2024)


Is the Yuzu emulator dead? ›

Switch emulator Yuzu is dead: abruptly settles lawsuit with Nintendo for $2.4 million in an enormous blow to console emulation.

Do you need a powerful PC to emulate switch games? ›

Although, 8GB of RAM is more than enough we recommend 16GB of RAM for the best performance. In terms of graphic cards, you need an NVIDIA GeForce GT 1060 GPU or an AMD Radeon RX 550. Fortunately, the Yuzu emulator has also clearly stated the minimum PC requirements to run Nintendo Switch games properly.

What are the minimum PC requirements for Yuzu emulator? ›

What are Yuzu's minimum requirements? In order to run Yuzu properly, you'll need a computer with Windows 7 or higher, an Intel i5-4430 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU or better, an Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 graphics card or its equivalent, and 8 GB of RAM.

How do I access Switch games on my PC? ›

To display your Switch on your PC, dock it and use it in TV Mode. You can also use a video capture card and capture software to connect the Switch to your PC. Only games compatible with TV Mode can be played on your PC. You can look for incompatible games on your PC or download a Switch emulator to play them.

Where do I put Yuzu Switch games? ›

Open Yuzu. go to the top left corner and click on "File" and "Install Files to NAND". Then choose the Update/DLC files you want to install. Wait for installation to finish.

Why is Yuzu emulator illegal? ›

Those encryption methods running simultaneously permit the games to be played. Nintendo claimed that Yuzu circumvented this encryption by using illegally obtained Switch decryption keys, which can be used to play unauthorized copies of Switch games.

Why did Nintendo sue Yuzu? ›

In its legal complaint, Nintendo claimed Yuzu was “facilitating piracy at a colossal scale,” giving users “detailed instructions” on how to “get it running with unlawful copies of Nintendo Switch games,” among other things.

Why is switch emulation so hard? ›

Part of this is that it takes time to reverse-engineer the emulator itself and another part is that emulation requires more hardware heft than running native code, so most people's computers simply don't have the power to effectively emulate for a while.

Does RAM speed affect Yuzu? ›

Yuzu emulator is way more CPU intensive than GPU, However, You still need a decent GPU to make running yuzu smoothly possible. Please note that Yuzu also requires a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. Any older all-in-one PC from a department store will struggle to keep up with the demands of yuzu.

How powerful is Switch GPU? ›

The GPU is operating at a frequency of 384 MHz, which can be boosted up to 768 MHz, memory is running at 1600 MHz. Its power draw is rated at 15 W maximum. The console's dimensions are 239 mm x 101 mm x 28 mm, and it features a igp cooling solution.

Does Yuzu need internet? ›

Yuzu for Windows 10 requires Windows 10 version 16299.0 or higher. You will need an active internet connection for library updates and Book downloads.

How much memory does Yuzu need? ›

Yuzu (emulator)
CPUMinimum: Intel i3-6100 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Recommended: Intel i5-8600K or AMD Ryzen 5 3600
MemoryMinimum: 8GB RAM Recommended: 16GB RAM
1 more row

How do I run Yuzu on my laptop? ›

Installing Yuzu for Windows 10 PCs
  1. Step 1 - Check compatibility. Yuzu is free to install on a supported Windows PC. ...
  3. Step 3 - Launch Yuzu and Sign-In. After installing Yuzu on your PC, launch Yuzu, and sign in with your Yuzu ID and password.
Apr 20, 2024

How do you play Nintendo Switch Pokemon games on PC? ›

Yes , you can play Pokemon games on a PC ! There are several ways to do so , including using emulators and ROMs , or purchasing and downloading . Pokemon Scarlet and Violet cannot officially be played on PC as it is a Nintendo Switch exclusive.

Is there a working Switch emulator for PC? ›

Cross-platform. Ryujinx is currently available for Windows 10/11, macOS and Linux-based systems.

How do you play Pokemon games on Yuzu? ›

Then, download Yuzu from its official site. Remember, you'll need your own dumped copy of Pokemon Violet for it to work. It's a murky legal area, so make sure you own the game! After setting up Yuzu and configuring it to your liking, load up your game and voila, you're on an adventure in the Paldea region!

What games can Yuzu emulator play? ›

Game TitleCompatibilityDate Tested
Alba: A Wildlife AdventureOkayOctober 18, 2021
Alchemist SimulatorGreatDecember 24, 2021
Alchemist's CastlePerfectJanuary 6, 2022
Aldred KnightGreatNovember 30, 2021
160 more rows

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