Rumor: Twilight Princess on Nvidia Shield Handled Through Emulation, Hints at GameCube Virtual Console on Switch
Posted on January 30 2018 by Rod Lloyd
The Nvidia Shield launched in Chinese markets late last year, and, as part of a partnership between Nvidia, Nintendo, and Chinese video company iQiyi, various HD ports of classic Wii titles (like Twilight Princess) were released exclusively for the set-top box in the region. The release of these ports led to speculation on how these games were handled on the device, as reports were unsure if they were available via streaming or they were achieved through emulation. Well, the pervading rumor right now is that the Chinese version of the Nvidia Shield is in fact running Twilight Princess via emulation.
A tech-savvy group of gamers have taken a behind-the-scenes look at Twilight Princess on the Nvidia Shield and claim that the HD port (and perhaps others like it) is handled through emulation. If true, this fact would indicate that Nintendo has developed a working, well-performing GameCube emulator for potential use in the future.
A glitch hunting community on ResetEra imported an Nvidia Shield from China with Twilight Princess installed, and the game was streamed on Twitch by user Pheenoh. All findings were posted by user dragonbane. According to reports by dragonbane and others, the game holds a constant 30 FPS, maintains a high resolution, and loads quickly. It was also noted that two consistent game crashes in the GameCube version Twilight Princess were not present in the Nvidia version. Once the group dumped the APK from the Shield, a GameCube emulator was found instead of a native game executable. This emulator, they say, “runs one of the most demanding games on the [GameCube] very smoothly on the same hardware as the Switch.”
Some have already speculated that Nintendo is using these Nvidia ports as a test run for future GameCube and Wii re-releases on the Switch — the Nvidia X1 system-on-a-chip is used in both the Shield and the Switch — so Twilight Princess being handled through emulation on the Chinese device adds more credibility to that theory. However, Nvidia’s Chinese website still implies that Twilight Princess and other Nintendo games are available through the GeForce Now streaming service, which contradicts the emulation reports. And even if the game is handled through emulation, Nintendo may not have developed the emulator itself. In fact, when the Shield launched in China, Nintendo issued a statement to Bloomberg that seemed to imply that the HD ports were the work of Nvidia’s staff.
We won’t know anything for sure until Nintendo announces their Virtual Console plans for Switch. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
What do you make of these rumors? Do you hope that Nintendo releases Twilight Princess on the Switch as part of a streaming service? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.