Nintendo removes GameCube and Wii emulator from Steam

Nintendo removes GameCube and Wii emulator from Steam
Images via Nintendo

Written by 

Tom Chapman


30th May 2023 13:15

Another fan-favourite has been bulldozed in Nintendo's quest to have the keys to the kingdom and leave everyone else locked out in the cold. This time, it's Valve that has been slapped with a cease and desist from the might of Mario. All over the popular Dolphin emulator.

Emulators fall into a legally grey area, but as has been proved before, the big gaming companies don't have much of a leg to stand on because emulators use legally purchased software. That hasn't stopped Nintendo from coming for the beloved GameCube and Wii emulator, demanding that it be pulled from Steam.

Nintendo calls for Dolphin's removal from Steam 

We previously covered how Dolphin means you can technically get GameCube games on Xbox before Switch (a bizarre situation), but back then, we speculated Nintendo would soon be coming for the project. Speaking to Kotaku, a Nintendo spokesperson claimed Dolphin uses "illegal" practices to allow access to its library. 

"Nintendo is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers," said the spokesperson. "This emulator illegally circumvents Nintendo's protection measures and runs illegal copies of games. Using illegal emulators or illegal copies of games harms development and ultimately stifles innovation."

The gaming giant concluded, "Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies, and in turn expects others to do the same." There was plenty of hype when a Dolphin listing appeared on the Valve storefront in March, but its imminent arrival has been stopped in its tracks. 

Dolphin responds to Steam axe

Mario Galaxy Yoshi gameplay
Click to enlarge

The official Dolphin blog gave an update on the situation and confirmed the Steam port has been "indefinitely postponed." The post reads, "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."

It all gets a bit complicated, but basically, Steam broke copyright by violating DMCA anti-circumvention provisions, meaning Dolphin isn't technically liable here. Even though it's seemingly just a takedown notice, there's a chance Nintendo could pursue Dolphin. 

Whatever is going on, it doesn't look like Dolphin will be coming to Steam and our dreams of playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker have pumped the breaks. Nintendo's clampdown on our fun continues.

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