Yuzu Switch Emulator: How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on PC.
Nintendo recently released a portable version of its very popular console, the Nintendo switch lite. The main difference between the two is that the original Switch can be played on TV or in handheld mode, while 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 want their game catalog, you can use the Yuzu Switch Emulator to play Nintendo games on your PC. The emulator is still under development. The Vulkan backend has not been added. What’s more, performance isn’t on everyone but the best processors. However, it works and popular games like Super Mario Odyssey can be played on your computer.
How to play Nintendo Switch games on PC
Today we will take a look at how to set up Yuzu. After that, we’ll talk about some of the performance metrics of Super Mario Odyssey. One important thing to keep in mind. We do not condone piracy here. It is important that you only use the games you have for Switch with Yuzu. To make them work, you need to extract the decryption keys. The Yuzu Github page has a handy step-by-step guide on how to do this. Before reading this guide, you can take a look at it first. You will need title.keys and prod.keys for the game you are going to play.
Before we get into the tutorial, let me briefly tell you about my hardware platform. Although Yuzu can be played on many systems, you should note that it is still very intensive. If you’re using anything less than a dedicated modern gaming rig, now is a good time to come back. You just won’t have a playable frame rate.
Our test platform
- CPU: Ryzen 1600, overclocked to 3.6GHz.
- GPU: RTX 2070 Super, overclocked to 1980 GHz.
- Memory: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 2733MHz RAM.
- Memory: 128GB Foresee M.2 SSD + 240GB Kingston A400 SATA Solid State Drive
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 DS3H
- PSU: Cooler Master MWE 550 Bronze
For reference, if you’re expecting similar performance, a Haswell i5 or i7 like the i7-4770K is minimal. As far as the GPU goes, you’ll need at least something like the 1050 Ti. If you plan on working at higher resolutions, the GTX 1070 / Vega 56 will be the starting point. Again, keep in mind that this will not work on typical laptop hardware. So with that in mind, let’s move on to the setup process.
You can install Yuzu in two ways. You can download the web installer from Yuzu website or download the latest build from Github directly. We will show you how to do this. However, in my experience, direct download of Github was faster.
To set up Yuzu Web Installer:
1. Visit Yuzu’s download page here.
2. Click Download.
3. After downloading, run the installer as administrator.
4. Click Install.
5. You need to copy the prod.key and title.key files to the Yuzu AppData folder. You can find it here: C: Users (Username) AppData Roaming yuzu keys
To set up Yuzu Github build directly
1. Visit the Yuzu Github canary release channel here.
2. Click the link highlighted in the following screenshot to download Yuzu.
3. Use a Zip unpacker to unzip files anywhere.
4. Start Yuzu once. You can do this by right clicking on yuzu.exe and running it as administrator. This will set up the key folder.
5. Copy files prod.key and title.key to the keys folder in Yuzu AppData. We mentioned how to do this earlier.
The web installer is easier to configure. However, in our experience, the download speed was erratic. Even with a 50 Mbps connection, it took over 10 minutes to reach 20 percent. I downloaded the version on Github in a couple of seconds.
How to Play Games on Yuzu:
Just in case, we suggest that you check out this game reset guide to upload legitimate copies of your games to Switch before using them on Yuzu. However, if you have a license to play the game and live in a permitted jurisdiction, you can get images of the Switch game. They have the file extensions .xci or .nsp. This will help you save time when you reset the file. We are using Super Mario Odyssey .nsp. To play a game on Yuzu:
1. Run Yuzu as administrator.
If you installed Yuzu using the web installer, the executable will be in the Local AppData folder, here: C: Users (Username) AppData Local yuzu canary
2. Load the game image
Click File, then click Load File, then select the Switch game image
3. You can start playing. Optionally, you can go to Emulation and then Customize to customize the controls according to your preference.
How does Yuzu perform?
Below I have attached fragments of Yuzu’s gameplay. It was recorded using FRAP. The included in-game performance recording is slightly higher, but the overall scenario is easy to observe. Yuzu struggles a lot. You can customize the emulator a bit by enabling the Asynchronous GPU option under Graphics in the configuration panel. Even then, yuzu struggles to maintain 30 FPS in the game from time to time. Since shaders are constantly being loaded, significant delays and stuttering occur. It goes away over time. [if lt IE 9] <! [endif]
But even so, it is a deeply compromised experience. Stuttering is the main limiting factor. After loading an area, Super Mario Odyssey often runs at 50-60 frames per second. However, if you continue, you will get even more frame rate drop. Another issue is that because the game uses dynamic resolution scaling, low frame rates tend to lower resolution. This results in an unclear image. In general, this is not an ideal way of playing the game.
Should I use it now?
However, this should not be criticized. Keep in mind that the Switch is an eighth generation console. It runs many of the same games as the PS4 and Xbox One, such as Doom. The very fact that in just a year of development Yuzu is already showing 60 FPS in places is a big event. At the moment, we do not recommend using Yuzu unless you have a top-tier overclocked processor. For the rest of us, cumulative updates over another year should get the emulator up and running. We will follow closely to let you know.