May 31, 2023 6 min read

Nintendo Switch Emulation: How to run Yuzu on Steam Deck

If you want to play your Nintendo Switch ROMs on Valve's handheld, here is how to optimize Yuzu for the Steam Deck.

Pokémon Shining Pearl running on Steam Deck.
Pokémon Shining Pearl running on Steam Deck.

If you want to play your Nintendo Switch ROMs on Valve's handheld, here is how to optimize Yuzu for the Steam Deck.


In February 2024 Nintendo sued the developers of the Yuzu emulator, as such the team behind the popular emulation tool decided to end the project. Therefore Yuzu is no longer available, and the only way to currently emulate any Nintendo Switch games on the Steam Deck is either via Ryujinx or the new Suyu tool.

Nintendo Switch Emulation: How to run Suyu on Steam Deck
If you want to play your Nintendo Switch ROMs on Valve’s handheld, here is how to install Suyu on the Steam Deck.
Nintendo Switch Emulation: How to run Ryujinx on Steam Deck
If you want to play your Nintendo Switch ROMs on Valve’s handheld, here is how to install and optimize Ryujinx for the Steam Deck.

Original Reporting

If you want to play one of your legally acquired Nintendo Switch ROMs, that you have dumped yourself, on your Steam Deck – you know, for science –, here is how to set up Yuzu for the best compatibility on Steam Deck.

We do not tolerate any kind of piracy. Please only emulate games you bought and dumped yourself.

How to install Yuzu on Steam Deck

First, we need to install Yuzuthe most popular option for Switch emulation. Yuzu is a Nintendo Switch emulator that lets you play Switch games on your Steam Deck.

There are several ways to do this: downloading the emulator separately through the Discover Store or using an automated installer that includes Yuzu, like EmuDeck or RetroDeck.


We propose you either use EmuDeck or RetroDeck (I use EmuDeck personally). Both solutions come with many settings needed, like controller input, already set up out of the box. This saves you a tremendous amount of time — but we can still enhance some parts of the experience. Here is how you to install both.

How to install prod.keys, title.keys and the Nintendo Switch firmware

After installing the tool, you need to provide Yuzu with your 'prod.keys' and your Nintendo Switch firmware. There are ways to dump them from your own Nintendo Switch if it can be jailbroken.

To install both the prod.keys and the Switch firmware, start Yuzu in the Steam Deck's desktop mode, and if it is the first time you start the emulation tool, it'll warn you about the missing files. Next, click on File in the top left corner, then to Open yuzu folder, and here open up the keys folder. This is where you want to drop both the prod.keys and title.keys files.

As for the Switch firmware, navigate back to the yuzu folder, then go to nand/system/Contents/registered/ and drag in all the files of your firmware. There are a whole bunch of them. Restart Yuzu, and you're good to go.

Curious just how well Yuzu runs on Steam Deck? Well, we can optimize things.

How to optimize Yuzu for Steam Deck

  • First, we need to boot into the Steam Deck BIOS to change the VRAM. For this, we need to turn off the Steam Deck completely. Then hold the Power Button and the Volume Up Button. Release both as soon as you hear the chime. It can take a while before you can see the screen. Here, click on Setup Utility. In the new window, go to Advanced, then set the UMA Frame buffer Size to 4G. Save and Exit!
  • The Steam Deck will restart back to Gaming Mode. But for the next step, we need to boot into Desktop Mode. Click the Steam button, go down to Power, and then Switch to Desktop. Wait for the Deck to reboot.
Screenshot of Steam Deck showiny CryoUtilities.
The fantastic CryoUtilities will enhance many games.
  • Now we want to install the fantastic CryoUtilities 2 by CryoBytes. Here is an in-depth explanation video by creator Kyle himself. But basically, all it needs is to go to this link from your Steam Deck, and download the file called cryo_utilities. Double-click it and wait for it to install.
  • When done, you will see the CryoUtilities app on your desktop. Double-click it, read and accept the disclaimer, then type in your sudo password. Next, hit Recommended Settings. This will create a SWAP file of 16GB and change the Swappiness to 1.
  • Now start up Yuzu EmuDeck. Here, click on Emulation, then Configure. Under CPU, change the setting to Accurate, then go to Graphics > Advanced and here enable Force maximum clocks. Done!
  • If you haven't installed Decky Loader nor PowerTools yet, stay on Desktop Mode. Follow this guide to do so (skip to step 7 in that post). If you have both tools installed, we're done here.
  • Now, back to Gaming Mode. Here, open up Yuzu in standalone mode (not through EmulationStation). Next, click the menu button (that's the one on the right side with the three dots (•••)). Go down to Decky Loader (the icon with the plug), and look for PowerTools.
Screenshot of Steam Deck Overlay showing PowerTools.
Lock the Frequency of the GPU like so.
  • We need to change a few settings here. First, disable SMT. Keep the Threads at 4. Then scroll down to the GPU section, and toggle the Frequency Limits. You now want to set both the Minimum and the Maximum to 1000hz. This gives you the closest Switch-like performance.
  • ..and finally, set the Framerate Limit to 30. Here's how you do that.

Although a wide range of titles should work, so far, I have tried the above settings successfully with the following games:

  • Pokémon Shining Pearl & Brilliant Diamond
  • Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
  • Metroid Prime Remastered
  • Bayonetta 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

As of writing this post, I'm running Yuzu 1351, an Early Access version you'll get through their Patreon. You need it for the update 1.2.0 to Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet.

And before anyone comes knocking, I own these games and have dumped them myself. I just don't care about carrying my Switch with me anymore. Sorry, Nintendo!

And since we all know why you are here, yep, that game works, too. The Yuzu devs have worked overtime to get it up and running.

Yuzu on Twitter

As for the mentioned mods in that Twitter post, click here.

How to install DLCs and Updates on Yuzu on Steam Deck

If you're unsure how to install your dumped DLCs and Updates for your Switch Games on Yuzu, here's how.

  • Boot into Desktop Mode. Click the Steam button, go down to Power, and then Switch to Desktop. Wait for the Deck to reboot.
  • Open up Yuzu. The process to install a DLC or an Update for games in your list here is the same. You have to click on File in the top, then Install Files to NAND... and navigate to the location of either your DLC or Update file. Select it, and wait for the process to stop. Repeat for the other files.
  • This process will take a while, but you'll see if it succeeded if the Version Number below the Add-Ons tab changed.

Congratulations! Have fun playing your legally acquired Switch games on Steam Deck.

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