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First Yuzu, now other emulators for Android are being pulled or shut down

It looks like we've now got fewer options for emulators on Android.
By

Published onMarch 12, 2024

The Pizza Boy GBA emulator for Android.
  • A variety of console emulators for Android have been pulled from the Play Store or shut down entirely.
  • Some of these moves have been attributed to Nintendo’s crackdown or Google’s recent developer policy change.

Nintendo cracked down on the popular Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu earlier this month, with the emulator being shut down and the team behind it being forced to pay over $2 million in damages. Now, it looks like other emulators on Android are shutting down or being pulled from the Play Store.

For starters, the developer behind the popular Pizza Boy emulators for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance has announced that he’ll be pulling these emulators from the Play Store. The developer, Davide Berra, didn’t directly attribute the decision to Nintendo’s crackdown.

Berra made the announcement on the Pizza Boy Discord channel last week:

After seven incredible years of development and adventures with my apps, I have made the difficult decision to remove them permanently from the Play Store. My family comes first, and for this reason, I have chosen to prioritize my family over the development of my apps.

Berra also confirmed that the work-in-progress Pizza Boy DS emulator, which is meant to emulate Nintendo DS games, has been killed off as a result. We’ve asked the developer whether the existing Pizza Boy emulators will still be available elsewhere or if development has ceased altogether. We’ve also asked whether Nintendo’s actions contributed to the decision. We’ll update the article if/when we get a response.

More setbacks for Nintendo emulators on Android

Still hoping for a new Nintendo Switch emulator on Android? Well, one of the key developers of the upcoming Strato emulator has decided to step away from the project and console emulation in general. The developer, going by the username Lynx, didn’t specifically cite Nintendo’s recent crackdown as a reason to step away but hinted that their exit was due to a combination of factors.

Strato was conceived as a follow-up of sorts to the Skyline emulator, which was killed after a legal threat by (surprise) Nintendo. However, Lynx noted that the Strato project wasn’t dead.

This isn’t the only Nintendo console emulator to suffer a blow as the developer behind the long-running Drastic emulator confirmed they were pulling the emulator from the Play Store and opening the source code. The developer noted that this was in the works for a while but Nintendo’s crackdown “made the whole process more urgent.”

These aren’t the only happenings in the Android emulator space lately, as two other emulators have seen issues. The developer of the popular DuckStation emulator, which emulates PlayStation One games, has reportedly suggested that they’re “done with Android.” The developer pinned the blame on Google requiring developers to publish their legal name.

Meanwhile, the AetherSX2 emulator for emulating PS2 games has been pulled from the Play Store, according to a developer’s message on Discord. Fortunately, the team is now encouraging users to download NetherSX2, which is effectively a forked version of AetherSX2. This isn’t a surprise, though, as the original AetherSX2 developer ended development over a year ago, citing death threats. The emulator then resurfaced on the Play Store with ads. So this new development doesn’t seem to be related to a gaming/tech giant’s actions, either.

Either way, between Nintendo’s crackdown and Google’s policy on developers using their real names, it’s clear that the Android emulator ecosystem is in some turmoil right now. But there is some positive news on the horizon as the Cassia emulator to run PC games on Android is expected to launch in the second half of 2024.