Dolphin Emulator for GameCube and Wii is no longer coming to Steam

Photo: via Twitter

The team behind the GameCube and Wii Dolphin emulator has announced that it is “abandoning” its efforts to launch the product on Steam.

Valve’s requirement is for Team Dolphin to get approval from Nintendo for a Steam release, and he believes this is “impossible”.

Valve ultimately runs the store and can set whatever requirement they want for the software to appear on. But given Nintendo’s longstanding stance on emulation, we’re finding Valve’s requirements for us to get consent from Nintendo to make a Steam version impossible. Unfortunately, that’s all.”

The decision follows the announcement in May that the Steam release of the emulator had been “indefinitely delayed” after Valve’s legal department contacted Nintendo, and an attorney on behalf of NoA requested that the product not be released, citing the DMCA.

Nintendo’s message to Valve: “We specifically request that you remove the Dolphin ‘coming soon’ notification and ensure that the emulator is not released on the Steam store going forward.”

For the emulator using “private encryption keys” including the “Wii Shared Key”, according to the Dolphin team, the message appears to have “made no claims” the developers were violating US copyrights by including that key, and the Dolphin emulator is not believed to be in “any legal risk”.

After consulting the legal council, the Dolphin team believes it will have a “very strong case” in court that Dolphin was not designed “for the purpose of circumventing protection”, as only “a very small part” of the code is involved in circumvention – in addition, “GameCube games are not actually coded” and the emulator can also play homebrew and modify it.

“Given that only a small portion of what we do involves circumvention, we think the claim that we were ‘in order to circumvent it in the first place’ is farfetched. We don’t believe that angle would work in a US courtroom, if it ever did.”

Although the Steam version is now cancelled, “some features that are in development” for this version will still be released in the regular Dolphin build, such as a “Big Picture” mode with controller support and several quality-of-life improvements.

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You can get a full rundown of how everything turned out in our previous coverage and on the Dolphin blog, but in short – the Steam release is no longer happening.

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