Gamecube and Wii emulator Dolphin has indefinitely delayed its release on Steam following a terrifying warning from the highly litigious Nintendo. As a legal emulator program, Nintendo's actions against the software's team has caused a great deal of concern from gamers and preservationists.
Nintendo's fight against emulation and console modding has sparked up exponentially these past few years. Just last week, the game company patched the 3DS to make hacking the handheld harder, so their recent behaviour is far from surprising.
Releasing a statement to Kotaku, Nintendo claims that they took down an emulator that can play decades-old games to “protect” the company’s work. However, Dolphin is a legally created emulator platform, so its release shouldn't be blocked anywhere. Furthermore, many of the games that Nintendo is "protecting" have no plans of being re-released.
“Nintendo is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers,” Nintendo told 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.”
A blog post from the emulator's website confirmed that Dolphin is indefinitely delayed from coming to Steam until further notice. While it is annoying how the company decided to take action against Dolphin like this, players have ways to access it already, like through emudeck.
To their credit, Nintendo has been re-releasing more of their older games, though not enough to make doing this okay. Having remasters of Metroid Prime, Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is really nice. Letting players experience these older versions via various emulators is also nice.
Even if the company made all of its older games readily available, this type of behaviour shouldn’t be okay. Dolphin exists as a way to preserve older titles and let players enjoy them, so seeing Nintendo act like just seems petty. Then again, what can we expect from a company that is now profiting of one man for the rest of his life?