The team behind GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin has announced that it has “abandoned” its efforts to release the product on Steam.
Valve’s requirement is that the Dolphin team “receive approval from Nintendo” for a Steam release, and this is believed to be “impossible”.
“Valve ultimately runs the store and can set any condition that they want software to appear on. But because of Nintendo’s long-term position on imitation, we find Valve needs us to get it. approval from Nintendo for the release of Steam to be impossible. Unfortunately, that’s it.”
This decision follows the announcement back in May that the Steam release of the emulator had been “postponed indefinitely” after Valve’s legal department contacted Nintendo, and a lawyer on behalf of NoA asked not to release the product, citing the DMCA law.
Nintendo’s letter to Valve: “We specifically request that Dolphin’s “coming soon” notice be removed and that you ensure that the emulator does not drop on the Steam store going forward.”
Regarding the emulator using “proprietary cryptographic keys” and including the “Wii Common Key”, according to the Dolphin team the letter appears to have made “no claim” the developers were infringing US copyright by including this key, and the Dolphin emulator is not believed to be in “any legal danger”.
After consulting legal advice, the dolphin team believes that they would have a “very strong argument” in court that Dolphin is not designed to perform “surround defense”, because only “a very small part” of the code is involved in circumvention – in addition, “GameCube games are not really encrypted” and the emulator can also play homebrew & mods.
“Considering that only a small fraction of what we do involves bypassing, we think the claim that we are ‘primarily for bypassing’ is a stretch. We don’t believe this angle would pass in a US courtroom, if it ever came to that.”
Although the Steam release is now axed, “some of the features that are being developed” for this version will still be released in the regular Dolphin build, such as ‘Big Picture’ mode with controller support and various quality of life improvements.
You can find the 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.