The team behind bringing the popular Dolphin GameCube/Wii emulator to Steam, making the app easier to get up and running on Valve’s Steam Deck and PCs, is “abandoning” its efforts.
Earlier this year, Dolphin announced plans to bring the app to Steam, stating that the project has taken “many months of work.”
In a recent blog post regarding the decision to drop the project, the Dolphin team says that Nintendo and Valve “did not send Valve or Dolphin a Digital Millennium Copyright Act” and that it hasn’t “taken any legal action against Dolphin Emulator or Valve.” Back in May, the team behind Dolphin said that it was notified by Valve that Nintendo issued a cease and desist again the app’s Steam page, but it appears that wasn’t the full story.
A lawyer representing Nintendo actually contacted Valve and asked the company to “prevent Dolphin from releasing on the Steam store, citing the DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act] as justification.”
Steam then told the Dolphin team that it would need to come to an agreement with Nintendo before the emulator could be released on its platform. Given Nintendo would never allow its games to be released on Steam, let alone through an emulator, the Dolphin team no longer had a path forward.
“Considering the strong legal wording at the start of the document and the citation of DMCA law, we took the letter very seriously,” the Dolphin team wrote.
With all of this in mind, the team behind the project says that it does “not believe that Dolphin is in any legal danger,” though Nintendo’s correspondence with Steam includes discussion surrounding Dolpin’s ability to circumvent GameCube and Wii game encryption.
“We have a very strong argument that Dolphin is not primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection. Dolphin is designed to recreate the GameCube and Wii hardware as software, and to provide the means for a user to interact with this emulated environment. Only an incredibly tiny portion of our code is actually related to circumvention,” says the Dolphin team.
Several of the project’s key features will reportedly make their way to other Dolphin builds, including a “Big Picture” UI that can be used with a controller. Of course, you can still install the Dolphin emulator normally, even on the Steam Deck.
You can find the Dolphin project’s full blog post here.
Image credit: Dolphin Forums