Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are coming to Switch, here’s why

By Steven Rondina


Apr 20, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald may be launching on the Nintendo Switch in the near future.

Multiple Nintendo Switch data miners have uncovered evidence of a working Game Boy Advance emulator on the console. Files and assets related to a long list of games were uncovered, which included screenshots, standalone apps, and customized multiplayer support. 

Included in those files were a screenshot and other files that strongly suggest that gen-three Pokemon titles, particularly Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, will soon arrive on the Nintendo Switch. These are set to be direct ports of the original Game Boy Advance titles, and will not be remakes in the vein of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. It is unclear if Pokemon Emerald will be included as well. The files related to multiplayer support for trading in a game simply known as “Pokemon”

Details beyond the emulator’s existence and the existence of the screenshot and files are scant for now. It’s likely that this will be a part of Nintendo Switch Online, but it’s unclear whether it will be part of the basic service or the Expansion Pack alongside Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games. It’s also unknown whether online multiplayer will be supported or if the game will only be supported locally. 

Pokemon Home support will almost certainly not be operational when the games launch. While Pokemon Bank support was enabled for the 3DS Virtual Console ports of Pokemon Red and Blue, Pokemon BDSP and Legends: Arceus are still waiting for Pokemon Bank support months after their releases.

It’s possible that these games may not release at the initial launch of the Nintendo Switch’s support for the GBA. Nintendo Switch Online’s NES, SNES, and N64 offerings change with time, with new games being added and special versions of games also popping up over time. 

Will Pokemon Gold, Silver, Red, Blue, Crystal come out on Nintendo Switch?

Despite recent leaks, it remains unknown whether classic Pokemon games including Red, Blue and Yellow, or Gold, Silver, and Crystal will come out on the Nintendo Switch. 

While there are a significant number of games that were referenced in the Nintendo Switch GBA emulator in one way or another, only four games from the original Game Boy were included. These were reportedly included as standalone apps and were handled differently than the GBA games. The original Game Boy games were Super Mario Land, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Tetris, and Qix.

This isn’t necessarily disqualifying given the fact that the emulator is still in development. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire weren’t even decisively included in the Nintendo Switch GBA emulator leak, but were instead uncovered through a screenshot.

It’s possible that larger support for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games could be implemented before release, which would open the door for Pokemon Red, Blue, Silver, and Gold. It’s also possible they are removed entirely and the service sticks strictly to GBA games.

Fans won’t know for certain what will be included until Nintendo officially confirms the service and its initial list of games.

When are Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire coming to Nintendo Switch?

No information is known on when GBA games such as Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire will come out on Nintendo Switch. Fans can have some confidence that the games will eventually release on the console after recent links, but when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

The emulator is still in development, though data miners have posted screenshots showing that it’s already operational. The trouble is that Nintendo could spend a great length of time on optimizing, market testing, and licensing the service. This means players may not be able to get their hands on a release of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire anytime soon, even if the games are already technically ready to play on Switch.