Nintendo Switch Emulators Aren’t Real, Warns The Federal Trade Commission

With Nintendo Switch selling through the roof, consoles in limited supply at retailers, and Breath of the Wild 4K emulation available via Cemu and the Wii U version, keeping track of what's real and what isn't can get confusing. What we do know is that currently there's no such thing as Nintendo Switch emulation, and falling for scams that claim otherwise could install adware and malware on your PC, or worse.

Apparently the problem of Switch emulation scams is so severe that the FTC felt compelled to issue an official statement on the matter, posting the following to its website earlier today.


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.


Even worse, when you try to download a Nintendo Switch emulator, you can install unwanted applications on your computer. These apps give you misleading information about computer problems that aren’t really there, then ask you to pay to fix them.

Other times, when you go to an emulator site, you get a link to a survey that you must complete to get a code to unlock the emulator. Again, the emulator doesn’t really exist. Don’t give personal information and don’t sign up for anything requiring your credit card information. You’re still not getting an emulator.


What can you do to avoid this scam?
  • 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.
And if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to the FTC.

Thankfully, in most cases emulation isn't nearly this harmful, whether it's Wii U emulation on PC or GameCube emulation on your shiny new Galaxy S8. A good rule of thumb is that if an emulator claims to be capable of running current-gen games, especially if said generation has just begun, then proceed with extreme caution. Or better yet, don't proceed at all.