Dolphin Emulator’s release on Steam was indefinitely postponed towards the end of May after Valve reached out to Nintendo. Valve spokesperson Kaci Aitchison Boyle confirmed that they had contacted Nintendo after Dolphin team announced its plans to release on Steam. This led to a legal dispute between Nintendo and Dolphin.
Valve has clarified that it operates Steam as an open platform, but it relies on creators to ship only those things that they have the legal right to distribute. The company says that sometimes third parties raise legal objections to things on Steam, but Valve isn’t well positioned to judge those disputes. In cases where there is a dispute, Valve generally ceases distributing the material until the parties tell Valve that they have resolved their disagreement.
Valve doesn’t want to ship an application that could be taken down, as that would be disruptive to Steam users. Given Nintendo’s history of taking action against some emulators, Valve contacted Nintendo proactively after Dolphin’s announcement that it was coming soon to Steam. Based on the letter Valve received, Nintendo and Dolphin have a clear legal dispute between them, and Valve cannot sit in judgment.
Nintendo has previously shared a statement about its stance on “illegal” emulators and copies of games. The company is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers. Nintendo believes that emulators that circumvent its protection measures and run illegal copies of games are harmful to development and ultimately stifle innovation. The company respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and expects others to do the same.
Valve and Nintendo are in a legal dispute over Dolphin Emulator. Valve operates Steam as an open platform, but it relies on creators to ship only those things that they have the legal right to distribute. While Valve is not well positioned to judge legal disputes, it will cease distributing material until parties resolve their disagreements. Nintendo believes in protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers and respects the intellectual property rights of other companies.