Nintendo stops Steam launch of popular Dolphin emulator

29 May 2023

Image: © donyanedomam/

The emulator has been around since 2003 and was due to launch on Steam this year, but a takedown request has postponed the launch ‘indefinitely’.

Game creator Nintendo has taken legal action to prevent a popular emulator for its consoles from being released on the Steam marketplace.

The action was taken against Dolphin, which is a free and open-source emulator for the Gamecube and the Wii, two older Nintendo consoles. This emulator lets people play games designed for these consoles on other devices such as PCs, Android devices and Xbox consoles.

Dolphin has been around since 2003 and was due to be released on Steam – one of the biggest online marketplaces for PC games – later this year.

However, Dolphin announced that this release has been “indefinitely postponed” as Nintendo issued a cease-and-desist demand to Valve, the company that owns Steam. As a result, Dolphin has been delisted on Steam “until the matter is settled”.

“We are currently investigating our options and will have a more in-depth response in the near future,” Dolphin said in a blog post. “We appreciate your patience in the meantime.”

A Nintendo spokesperson allegedly told Kotaku that the emulator “illegally circumvents Nintendo’s protection measures” and that the takedown measure was done to protect the “hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers”.

“Using illegal emulators or illegal copies of games harms development and ultimately stifles innovation,” the spokesperson said. “Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and in turn expects others to do the same.”

The emulator itself has not been targeted and can still be downloaded from the project’s website.

Nintendo has developed a reputation for being protective of its intellectual property. The company has issued numerous takedown requests to websites such as YouTube to remove videos of people playing its video games.

Earlier this year, the gaming company signed a 10-year deal to open up Xbox games such as Call of Duty to Nintendo players, though this is dependant on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard being completed.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic