Dolphin Wii Emulator’s Steam Release has been Indefinitely Delayed

Dolphin Wii Emulator's Steam Release has been Indefinitely Delayed

Nintendo’s removes the Dolphin Emulator’s Steam page with a DMCA takedown

The Dolphin Emulator team has been forced to “indefinitely postpone” the release of their Wii/GameCube emulator on Steam, as they have given Valve s “cease and desist” order citing a DMCA claim against the emulator’s Steam page.

Dolphin is an software solution that can be used on PCs and other devices to replicate the operations of Nintendo’s Wii hardware (which can play Gamecube games), allowing gamers to play Wii and Gamecube software without Nintendo hardware. Emulators like Dolphin are legal, and Nintendo has not been able to stop the software’s development. That said, Nintendo is not a fan of 3rd party emulators, as they see them as piracy tools. In-house, Nintendo uses emulation broadly to play classic games on their Switch hardware and with products like the NES and SNES Mini systems.

On Steam, Dolphin is marketed as a free tool that can be used to play original copies of games. Better still, the software can play this software at higher resolutions, with modern controllers, and with netplay. In many regards, Dolphin plays many Wii and Gamecube games better than original Wii or Gamecube hardware.

Currently, the Dolphin emulator team is working to resolve the issue, though it is unclear when or if the Dolphin emulator will release on Steam. Since Nintendo are using a DMCA claim to take down Dolphin’s Steam page, it is probable that Nintendo believes that Dolphin utilises some of Nintendo’s copyrighted code or cryptography keys, though at this time it is uncertain what legal basis Nintendo’s DMCA claims have.

Below is the Dolphin team’s statement about their software’s postponed Steam launch.

It is with much disappointment that we have to announce that the Dolphin on Steam release has been indefinitely postponed. We were notified by Valve that Nintendo has issued a cease and desist citing the DMCA against Dolphin’s Steam page, and have removed Dolphin from Steam until the matter is settled. We are currently investigating our options and will have a more in-depth response in the near future.

We appreciate your patience in the meantime.

Dolphin Wii Emulator's Steam Release has been Indefinitely Delayed

Nintendo’s being petty

Had Nintendo had the ability to do so, they would have taken down the Dolphin emulator. Given the fact that they haven’t it is clear that Nintendo’s action against the emulator is focused on its distribution on Valve’s Steam platform. Dolphin remains available as a standalone software on the official Dolphin website, and that isn’t expected to change anytime soon.

Since the Wii and Gamecube are dead platforms, and no new games have been released for either system for many years, Nintendo has no real reason to actively target the Dolphin emulator. Yes, they have every right to take down sites that distribute pirated Nintendo game ROMs, but Dolphin is not a piracy tool, it is a tool that emulates hardware, hardware that Nintendo is no longer supporting or producing.

Dolphin is a tool that is helping to preserve the legacy of Nintendo’s Gamecube and Wii systems, and they are designed to run software that players legitimately own. Let’s hope that the Dolphin team can get past their current issues with Nintendo, as having Dolphin on Steam would be a big deal for gamers, especially as original Wii and Gamecube hardware becomes more difficult to find.

You can join the discussion on Dolphin’s Steam release being postponed on the OC3D Forums.