Nintendo games are finally coming to Steam (sort of)

Dolphin emulator coming to Steam
(Image credit: Dolphin Emulator Project)

What you need to know

  • Dolphin is an emulator for Nintendo GameCube and Wii consoles, capable of playing legal backups of games from both systems on a desktop PC and other platforms.
  • Previously accessible via the official app website, Dolphin will soon be added to the official Steam store as a free-to-play app in Q2 2023.
  • Dolphin doesn't include any games, and the Steam page is legally unable to reference Nintendo or its trademarks directly.

The name Dolphin might not mean anything to many gamers, but before Nintendo officially launched its world-famous GameCube console, it went under the same title during development. Initially launched in 2003, Dolphin is now one of the best emulators for Nintendo's GameCube and Wii consoles, capable of playing backups of your entire library on PC that will soon be available on Steam.

Dolphin even runs GameCube and Wii games on an Xbox Series X|S, and many Steam Deck owners are well aware of the software's capability to run Nintendo's classics on the go. The only minor thing holding some curious users back is the need for manual setup, but that's about to change as the Dolphin emulator earns its own Steam store listing in Q2 2023.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

I've specifically named Dolphin in my roundup of the best emulators for Steam Deck as the top choice for playing your GameCube backups if you can find a disc drive suitable for ripping the mini DVDs. Now that the official release heads to Steam, newcomers will be able to install it with a single click. Understandably, the Dolphin team isn't allowed to actually name-drop any Nintendo titles or company branding on the store, referring to them by a pseudonym instead.

None of the screenshots on the store page are from GameCube or Wii games either, which might confuse the unsuspecting gamer. However, reviews and comments take up a sizeable chunk of games and apps on Steam, so the community will undoubtedly make it explicitly clear what Dolphin was made for.

Either way, as a Steam Deck fanatic, you can expect follow-up emulator guides from me when the app officially launches on Steam. For now, you can add Dolphin to your wishlist for a notification when it launches.

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon to ask questions or share opinions.