Discord has banned two Switch emulator devs and shuttered their servers in the wake of Yuzu's defeat

Ganondorf yelling with the gem in his forehead glowing
(Image credit: Nintendo)

As reported by The Verge, developers of Yuzu-derived Nintendo Switch emulators Sudachi and Suyu have had their Discord accounts banned and their servers wiped. While the devs themselves seem to operate in a grey area left open by Yuzu's settlement with Nintendo, their presence on the platform was still terminated with that settlement cited as the reason.

What makes this story murky is that Yuzu connection⁠—other emulator communities on the platform remain unaffected, including the one for Ryujinx, the Pepsi to Yuzu's Coke in the Switch emulation space. According to The Verge, the letter of Nintendo's settlement with Yuzu allows for developers unaffiliated with the original Yuzu team to use and modify its open-source GPL v3 code  in their own emulator projects.

In practice though, it's all probably too close to pissing off the Big N for Discord's comfort. In a statement to The Verge, a Discord rep said that "Discord responds to and complies with all legal and valid Digital Millennium Copyright Act requests. In this instance, there was also a court ordered injunction for the takedown of these materials, and we took action in a manner consistent with the court order."

The statement seems to imply that there was a new DMCA request by Nintendo regarding these servers, while the court order in question likely refers to the Yuzu-Nintendo settlement. Whatever brilliant legal logic you could bring to bear on behalf of Sudachi and Suyu, the Iron Law of the platform owner still remains supreme. 

It's always frustrating to see emulation communities suffer losses like this, especially in what may be an overreach when looking at the letter of the law, but Discord has a clear incentive to prize Nintendo's wishes over emulator devs, and this whole debacle is another useful example of how the platform should be used and viewed.

Discord servers can feel private, like a chat between friends, but they aren't nearly as secure as communication on Signal or Telegram, while their often open and public-facing nature means any number of people unaffiliated with you can see what you're saying. You really should view speech on Discord servers as more akin to social media posts than private communication with friends. 

Also, as user ToothlessFTW points out on r/pcgaming, maybe a Discord server isn't even the best venue for this sort of project in the first place: "I'm really glad that tons of software devs out there have decided to use Discord as an exclusive hub as a replacement for forums when Discord can just nuke any server they want at the click of a button and wipe it all out." 

I feel like I have to tap the sign PCG associate editor Lauren Morton hung up here back in 2022: Please stop making Discord servers for things that shouldn't be Discord servers.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.