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The GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin is no longer coming to Steam

Though the team isn't worried about Nintendo's comments

Mario on Yoshi flies away from an explosion in a Dolphin emulated Mario Galaxy.
Image credit: Nintendo

The GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin will no longer come to Steam. Back in March, it was announced that the long-running emulator would get a surprise release on the storefront, but that was soon “indefinitely postponed” due to legal troubles with Nintendo and Valve. Now the team have cleared up the situation and are “abandoning” their efforts completely.

“First things first - Nintendo did not send Valve or Dolphin a [DMCA Takedown] notice against our Steam page,” the team clarified in a recent blog post, before adding that “Nintendo has not taken any legal action against Dolphin Emulator or Valve.”

What actually happened was a legal back and forth. Valve’s legal department had contacted Nintendo regarding the emulator’s Steam release. A lawyer representing Nintendo asked Valve to prevent it. And then Valve forwarded that statement to the Dolphin team, “and told us that we had to come to an agreement with Nintendo in order to release it on Steam.”

The developers also mention that Nintendo’s long-held stance on emulation (they don’t like it) means getting their approval would prove to be “impossible.” Hence, the team is “abandoning our efforts to release Dolphin on Steam.”

Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo had previously said the emulator “illegally circumvents Nintendo’s protection measures and runs illegal copies of games” and “Using illegal copies of games harms development and ultimately stifles innovation.” Despite the Big N’s claims of illegality, the emulator team doesn't believe they’re in any legal danger and call the claims a “reach.” They go on to say that “only a small fraction of what we do involves circumvention.”

"As a silver lining, some of the features being developed for the Steam release will still work in Dolphin's normal builds, and are still being developed. One of the features we are most excited for is a full 'Big Picture' GUI that can be used directly with a controller.”

Dolphin is still available to download on its own site.

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