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Nintendo Says Dolphin Emulator on Steam 'Harms Development and Ultimately Stifles Innovation'

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Nintendo has explained why it issued a cease and desist order against Wii and GameCube emulator Dolphin over its launch on Steam, saying its existence "harms development and ultimately stifles innovation".

Speaking to Kotaku, a Nintendo spokesperson said the Dolphin emulator uses illegal practices to grant access to the older Nintendo games.

"Nintendo is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers," the spokesperson said. "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 Dolphin Emulator Project team announced on May 27 that the Steam version had been "indefinitely postponed" after it received the cease and desist order from Nintendo.

"We were notified by Valve that Nintendo has issued a cease and desist citing the DMCA against Dolphin's Steam page, and have removed Dolphin from Steam until the matter is settled," it said at the time.

The legality and morality of video game emulation is a regularly discussed subject in the industry, and the outcome of this case will perhaps set a new precedent going forward.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer believes in the practice as a preservation tool, for example, saying he hopes that one day "anybody should be able to buy any game".


Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer and acting UK news editor. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.

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