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Steam Is Getting An Emulator That Will Definitely Only Play Games You Own




Emulators running Steam games are nothing new, but an emulator being officially distributed on Steam? That's something. And that something is Dolphin, perhaps the best emulator you can download.

Dolphin Emulator has just announced that it plans to distribute itself via Steam sometime in Q2 2023. For those unaware, emulators are basically software that lets you play console Games on PC. In the case of Dolphin, it lets you play GameCube, Wii, WiiWare, and Virtual Console Games, which is a pretty massive library.

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What sets Dolphin apart from most other emulators is just how well-supported it is. According to the Dolphin site, nearly 40 percent of all GameCube and Wii games run perfectly, and the rest are at least playable with a few minor hiccups. And because Nintendo already updated a bunch of classic NES and SNES games via its Virtual Console, Dolphin is compatible with an extremely large and popular swath of Nintendo games.

We should note, however, that Dolphin is just an emulator--it lets you play old Games, but you still have to own a copy of that Game first. And it's not just a matter of slotting your GameCube disc into your drive, either. You'll first have to rip the Game data and turn it into an ISO file before Dolphin can run it. However, it's relatively simple to find these ISOs online if you know where to look.

That's largely why Nintendo doesn't like emulators like Dolphin. Nintendo has a habit of re-selling its older library on new consoles (albeit slowly), and it doesn’t seem to like the idea of PC Gamers being able to play their old Nintendo Games without having to pay for them again. Nintendo has already issued copyright claims against Steam Deck videos showing how easy it is to get an emulator running on Valve’s handheld PC, so I can’t imagine them being okay with the biggest and best emulator around getting official Steam support.

On the other hand, proponents of emulators like Dolphin argue they're a vital tool for Game preservation. Nintendo shuttered the Wii store back in 2019, so there's no way to get these older Games without searching through used bins. And with the elimination of the Wii U and 3DS store, that problem just got a little bit worse. Dolphin keeps these old Games running even when their original consoles fail, and that's something every Gamer can celebrate.

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