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Valve Reportedly Notified Nintendo of Dolphin Emulator’s Steam Release to Avoid Hot Water Itself

Last week, Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin’s Steam release was postponed after Nintendo issued a cease and desist order. Now, it seems that Valve also played a role in Dolphin Emulator’s takedown.

According to copies of emails obtained by The Verge, Valve brought Dolphin Emulator to Nintendo’s attention to avoid getting in legal trouble itself.

As The Verge pointed out, Valve likely raised this concern to Nintendo to prevent itself from getting in legal trouble for distributing the emulator. Nintendo has deemed Dolphin an “illegal emulator,” partially because of its use of cryptographic keys that are unauthorized by Nintendo.

Nintendo also cited DMCA Section 1201, which specifically states that companies cannot publish technologies that are “primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title” in its emails to Valve, hinting that Nintendo might also have a case against Valve itself for distributing Dolphin Emulator.

In a statement to The Verge, Valve confirmed its involvement and noted that it will “cease distributing the material until the parties tell Valve that they have resolved their dispute.” Given Nintendo’s prominent history of legal action against emulators, however, it’s unlikely that this dispute will see a resolution.

Dolphin Emulator’s Steam release was indefinitely postponed and removed from Steam last week after it received a cease and desist order from Nintendo. Later, Nintendo explained its decision, saying that the emulator “harms development and ultimately stifles innovation.” However, Valve accidentally supported emulation when it featured the Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu in a Steam Deck promotional video last year.

Amelia Zollner is a freelance writer at IGN who loves all things indie and Nintendo. Outside of IGN, they’ve contributed to sites like Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. Find them on Twitter: @ameliazollner.

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