Almost immediately after Nintendo released its new Switch gaming console, videos and banner ads touted emulators that could let you play Switch games on your PC, meaning you don’t have to pay the $300 retail price. Problem is: There currently aren’t any freely available, legitimate emulators. This hasn’t stopped hopeful Switch fans from downloading these apps anyway. After multiple warnings from journalists and tech security companies went unheeded, the Federal Trade Commission is officially advising gamers to not fall for this con.
In a consumer alert published today, the FTC clearly states that “there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam.”
According to the alert, some of these fake emulators are precursors to a tech support scam, installing software that gives you the impression that your computer needs to be repaired (and that you should pay the scammers for the fix).
“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,” writes the FTC. “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.”
The FTC advises that you simply shouldn’t risk downloading a supposed emulator, and don’t fill out any surveys that promise to provide you with an “unlock code” at the end.
If you really want to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or any other Switch game, the FTC says to play “at your friend’s house until you’re able to buy the real one yourself.”
YouTuber Simply Austin recently put together this video breakdown of one scammy Switch emulator site: