Don’t wait for Dolphin to help bring Nintendo GameCube and Wii games to Steam: it’s officially not happening anymore. Nearly two months after postponing the release “indefinitely,” the Dolphin Emulator team now he says he has completely given up on the idea. “We are abandoning our efforts to release Dolphin on Steam,” they write.
Remember when we showed you the receipts where Valve torpedoed the release and told Dolphin that he would have to get permission from Nintendo if he wanted a spot in the store? Today’s Nintendo was never going to give that permission, and Dolphin is now agreeing to that:
Valve ultimately manages the store and can set whatever conditions they want for software to appear in it. But given Nintendo’s longstanding stance on emulation, we find that Valve’s requirement for us to get approval from Nintendo to make a Steam release impossible. Unfortunately, that’s it.
As I wrote in June, it’s rare that Valve helped Nintendo push Dolphin out of its storefront. Valve proactively reached out to Nintendo, and Nintendo, in turn, issued a vague legal threat. (Not a “DMCA takedown” as many sites originally reported.)
“We do not believe that Delfín is in any legal danger”
But there was one element of the fight that might have turned some in the broader emulation community against Dolphin Emulator: It was revealed that Dolphin does ship with Nintendo’s Wii Common Key to bypass copyright protection on Wii (not GameCube) games.
Today, the Dolphin team says that after speaking with legal counsel, it believes it is not doing anything illegal by including that key and intends to leave it in place. “We do not believe that Dolphin is in any legal danger,” they write.
Dolphin cites many reasons why the team believes it is not in violation, so many that I don’t think it’s helpful to summarize them here. You should probably go read them.
But for posterity, Dolphin doesn’t believe the key itself is copyrighted; does not believe that the key itself is important to a legal argument about whether or not Dolphin is decrypting disks; argues that Dolphin is not “primarily to circumvent” in a way that would trigger 17 USC § 1201(a)(2)(A); and argues that Dolphin should be covered by that law reverse engineering exemption.