Valve Receives DMCA Complaint From Nintendo Over Dolphin Emulator Ahead Of Steam Launch

Two months ago, the development team behind Dolphin (a Wii and GameCube emulator for PC) announced their intention to release the program on Steam. However, today the Dolphin team explained in a short notice that the release of the game on Steam was delayed indefinitely after Nintendo sent a letter to Valve stating that the program was illegally bypassing technological measures to restrict access to copyrighted works.

As a result, the Dolphin Steam page has been removed. The team stated that they are looking into the possibility of resolving this issue. There are several options for the development of events. Either the developers will comply with the requirement and refuse to release Dolphin on Steam, or they will challenge the DMCA request by filing a counter notification. However, this could lead to litigation if Nintendo decides to sue Dolphin.

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Emulation platforms have long been considered legal, after a US court ruled in favor of emulators like Bleem. If Nintendo wins against Dolphin, it could set a new precedent in cases against all emulators, dooming RPCS3, Yuzu, Ryujinx, etc. The wisest course of action is probably not to release it on Steam, especially since Nintendo has not yet filed a DMCA complaint against the emulator site or the project’s GitHub page. It is likely that the Japanese corporation is only trying to avoid distributing Dolphin through the Valve store.

Nintendo has been very aggressive lately. The company has already dealt an indirect blow to the homebrew community by launching a DMCA against Lockpick. Ironically, this move is more likely to encourage piracy, as Lockpick was the only legal way for Nintendo Switch owners to obtain keys for the games they purchased. Nintendo also attempted to block a multiplayer mod released earlier this year for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, forcing YouTuber PointCrow, who funded the project, and the development team to remove it permanently.

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