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The best Nintendo Switch emulator for Android might live on as Strato (Updated)

Update: Two key Skyline developers are continuing the Switch emulator dream with Strato.

Published onMay 12, 2023

Nintendo Switch Header 14
Curtis Joe / Android Authority
  • Development has been halted on the popular Skyline emulator for Android.
  • This emulator allowed you to play Nintendo Switch games on your mobile device.
  • Two of the developers have since announced a new emulator to pick up where Skyline left off.

Update: May 12, 2023 (4:42 AM ET): It looks like there might be some good news for those wanting to emulate Nintendo Switch games on their Android phones. A new emulator from two of the Skyline developers will pick up where the discontinued emulator left off.

In an FAQ post on the Strato Discord channel, the team notes that Strato is a “continuation” of Skyline by two of the four main Skyline developers. The FAQ notes that this is still an open-source project, but that there’s no APK available just yet. Nor is there a timeline for the emulator to be released.

Original article: May 8, 2023 (1:45 AM ET): One of the most impressive emulators for Android in recent times is Skyline, a full-fledged Nintendo Switch emulator for the platform. Unfortunately, the developers have some bad news for us.

The Skyline team announced on Discord that they would be ceasing development of the emulator following a DMCA takedown notice from Nintendo.

While emulators on their own aren’t illegal, the team noted that Nintendo’s notice specifically concerns a piece of software called Lockpick. This software is used to dump security keys from a real Nintendo Switch console for use in the emulator.

What does this mean for Skyline?

Nintendo claims that Lockpick circumvents its copy protection and violates its copyright as a result, the team explained:

We find ourselves in a position where we are potentially violating their copyright by continuing to develop our project, Skyline, by dumping keys from our own Switches.

The team said it’s therefore “made the difficult decision to immediately cease all further development on Skyline.” If it’s any consolation, the Skyline team says the emulator itself is legal and that it won’t take down the repository or software builds.

Either way, you shouldn’t expect any performance or compatibility improvements from here on out as a result of the ceased development. This lack of development also means that the emulator will eventually fail to work with future Android versions years down the line.

Do you have any emulators on your Android device?

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For what it’s worth, two of the developers have noted that they aren’t stopping their Android-related work. More specifically, one of the developers says their next project is focused on running Windows games on Android.

This is a particularly interesting focus area, as there are already a couple of ways to unofficially run Windows on Android devices. So we’re keen to see how these developers will tackle this effort.

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