Dolphin Emulator’s Steam Release Canceled; Nintendo Did Not Pursue Legal Action

The devs have to first come to an agreement with Nintendo in order to release the software on Steam.

Story Highlights

  • The Dolphin Emulator team has issued a new and detailed response to elaborate on the DMCA situation with Nintendo. The plans for a Steam release have been canceled permanently. 
  • Previously, the team believed that Nintendo had issued a DMCA takedown notice on the Steam page. But, it was a letter from Nintendo to Valve to prevent the emulator’s release on the store.
  • Valve has asked the devs to reach out to Nintendo to get the approval and find common ground, but the devs find it impossible to convince the giant conglomerate.
  • The features developed for the Steam release will now be added to the next builds of Dolphin Emulator. They include a Big Picture GUI to let controllers access the software and more.

The Dolphin Emulator team has recently come forward with a detailed statement to clarify the brewing situation with Nintendo and Steam. Previously, it was announced that its release on the Steam platform was postponed indefinitely. As per the new update on the situation, the devs have decided not to release the emulator on Steam. It is skipping the popular store because of Nintendo’s harsh retort against game emulation in general.

We are abandoning our efforts to release Dolphin on Steam. Valve ultimately runs the store and can set any condition they wish for software to appear on it. But given Nintendo’s long-held stance on emulation, we find Valve’s requirement for us to get approval from Nintendo for a Steam release to be impossible.”

The original statement was written frantically because of the strong legal wording of the initial letter. The team had initially panicked after receiving a letter from Steam, and the response only fueled the fires of speculation in the community. The Dolphin devs believed Nintendo served a cease and desist letter to the Dolphin Emulator Steam page, but it was just a statement from Nintendo’s lawyers that Steam forwarded to the developers. 

We specifically request that Dolphin’s “coming soon” notice be removed and that you ensure the emulator does not release on the Steam store moving forward,” reads Nintendo of America’s Letter to Valve.

Nintendo’s letter to Valve also talks about the long-running topic of the Wii Common Key issue. Wii games use a common key burned into the console for decryption, and the system was famously cracked using only a pair of tweezers to extract the keys. The Nintendo lawyers raised the issue that the Dolphin Emulator is used for circumventing protection.

The Dolphin team alleges it is designed to recreate the GameCube and Wii hardware as software and to create an environment for emulation. Steam has suggested the Dolphin Emulator team reach out to Nintendo and get approval before releasing the software on Steam. But, the devs find it impossible to convince Nintendo and find common ground in the matter. Thus, the plans for a Steam release have officially been abandoned permanently.

In the end, Valve is the one running the Steam store front, and they have the right to allow or disallow anything they want on said store front for any reason. As for Nintendo, this incident just continues their existing stance towards emulation. We don’t think that this incident should change anyone’s view of either company.”

Overall, the air has been cleared now, and the emulation software is not in any legal danger from Steam or Nintendo. The one positive to emerge from the overall dilemma is the new features that were developed for the Steam version. These features include the “Big Picture” GUI that can be used with a controller, alongside many small quality-of-life improvements that will be implemented in future builds of Dolphin Emulator.

Similar Reads: The Callisto Protocol Patch 5.03 Rolls Out; Fixes Ray Tracing Issues On PC.

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Dolphin Emulator

Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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