From time to time, relatively odd things happen in the hacking & emulation communities and what we have today is definitely one of those. In this article, we’re going to be looking at Yuzu’s Nintendo Switch Online competitor for use with their emulator and its subsequent axing after “valid and insight feedback” from the community or backlash, as some might call it.
Yuzu announces Early Nintendo Switch Online support in their emulator via a partnership with Raptor Network
The story began late on Monday or early on Tuesday depending on where you live with the Yuzu team publishing a post on their website introducing Early Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) support (below). While details on how this support was implemented are scant and little was provided about what’s going on behind the scenes, there a few main points to keep in mind:
- Yuzu’s NSO support was being developed in partnership with Raptor Network
- Raptor Network, who has Ultramarine Holdings LLC behind it, is a Nintendo Switch Online replacement similar to bnetd which provided an alternative to Battle.net’s servers for StarCraft created via Reverse Engineering. Blizzard opened a lawsuit against this which they won.
- Little information is known about who owns Raptor Network and their website is already down
- In its initial form, Raptor Network only supported some features in Super Mario Maker 2 & Super Mario Odyssey while allowing you to set a nickname and a profile picture
- To use Yuzu’s NSO support, one has to be an active yuzu Early Access subscriber which costs $5/month (before tax) making online functionality cost $60/yearly which is 3 times more than what Nintendo asks for in order to provide the real deal
- According to reports on Reddit, the Raptor Network thing would have likely never supported mainline builds of Yuzu
Hours later, Yuzu axes their NSO support
As mentioned in the introduction, Yuzu’s NSO support immediately raised red flags within the community with a significant discussion on Reddit in r/emulation, where bunnei (Team Yuzu member) posted the aforementioned post on NSO support, highlighting various issues. Firstly, concerns were raised about the fact that Yuzu & Raptor Network are directly competing against Nintendo’s online service which could have ended up in a C&D order against them as was the case with bnetd mentioned above. Secondly, critics were raising the point that Yuzu’s NSO replacement service is 3x more expensive than Nintendo’s official service and that the functionality offered in Super Mario Odyssey is completely free on Nintendo’s servers thus not requiring an NSO subscription. Thirdly, some suggested that before introducing such important features, Yuzu should focus on fixing performance issues and taking care of regressions in titles such as Fire Emblem 3 Houses which have recently popped up.
Due to the not-so-favourable community response, those behind Yuzu swiftly axed the project indefinitely which does open the question of how in touch the Yuzu team are with the community. Perhaps if the Yuzu team discussed implementing NSO support with users, they might have not ended up wasting a good deal of effort in adding NSO functionality to their emulator which could have been spent elsewhere.
For now, it is unlikely that there will be any more developments relating to NSO support in Yuzu seeing how the project has been halted indefinitely. However, we might perhaps see something emerge towards the end of the Switch’s lifespan which definitely won’t be tomorrow while hoping that the Yuzu Team will be more in contact with the community before they develop certain features in the future!
Archive of Yuzu’s NSO Support Post (original version was taken down): https://web.archive.org/web/20201103042150/https://yuzu-emu.org/entry/yuzu-x-raptor/
Archived version of Raptor Network’s Website (taken down): https://web.archive.org/web/20201103044650if_/https://raptor.network/