Content Continues Below

Update (5/30/23):

After the notification of the Steam takedown page went live this weekend, PC Gamer obtained a copy of the legal notice that Nintendo sent to Valve, which reads:


Because the Dolphin emulator violates Nintendo’s intellectual property rights, including but not limited to its rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s Anti-Circumvention and AntiTrafficking provisions, 17 U.S.C. § 1201, we provide this notice to you of your obligation to remove the offering of the Dolphin emulator from the Steam store.


Reviewing the letter with a lawyer, PC Gamer notes that the statement is less a direct DMCA takedown (as Steam has technically not inflicted copyright infringement yet) and more a warning shot that such a takedown will occur if the page is to go up. 

Emulation is legal, but Nintendo’s ground on the case is that Dolphin uses Wii Common Keys to to decrypt ROMs at or immediately before runtime. Providing users with ways to bypass ROM protections is grayer legal territory that may have big ramifications if it reaches court. 


“Nintendo is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers,” said a Nintendo representative talking to Kotaku. “This emulator illegally circumvents Nintendo’s protection measures and runs illegal copies of games. Using illegal emulators or illegal copies of games harms development and ultimately stifles innovation. Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies, and in turn expects others to do the same.” 


The same issue of GameCube and Wii games being easily accessible persists: Does Nintendo believe that people emulating games two decades out of print, even if illegally, stifles their innovation and development? We’ll have to see if their argument holds water – or at least, their large amounts of money do. Right now, the ball is in the Dolphin developers’ court. 



Original article:


In a turn of events that will surprise absolutely not a single person alive, the release of the Dolphin GameCube/Wii emulator on Steam is on hold indefinitely after a DMCA takedown notice from Nintendo towards the Steam page. Valve informed the developers of the notice, who are now looking into options and promise a more in-depth response in the future. Feel free to gasp.



Even the fallout from fans is almost comically easy to predict – general booing of Nintendo, several pics stating it’s not just morally acceptable but in fact an imperative to pirate their games, folks pointing out that emulation is legal and it’s acquiring ROMs illicitly that’s not. If you’ve seen this song and dance before, none of it is new, even if it is disappointing: Nintendo currently offers no easily accessible way to play GameCube or Wii titles, after all. Hopefully this means that NSO emulation for the consoles is right around the corner, though we can’t say for certain. 

We’ll be sure to post any updates on developments regarding the matter. 


Leave a Comment

Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.