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Nintendo is blocking Steam Deck emulation content on YouTube

Valve's Steam Deck

Steam Deck emulation is actually possible, it turns out. PC gamers are delighted to hear that they can take their retro games on the go with this miniaturized gaming PC.  Valve stated that the device is “a PC and it should just play games like a PC.” So it stands to reason that retro game emulation would be a thing. And in fact, Steam Deck emulation seems to work quite well. GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin will run on Steam Deck, but Nintendo surely doesn’t want you to know that. The infamously litigious company has started issuing copyright takedown notices to YouTube against such content.

When the official developer Twitter of the Dolphin emulator posted about the hardware, people were very excited. It would seem that a new era of classic Nintendo gaming may about to be kicked off. But that excitement has since been tempered by Nintendo’s idiotic stomping on gamer’s hopes. ResetEra user dex3108 captured some screenshots of such a block in a thread, citing YouTuber The Phawx’s how-to video on Steam Deck Nintendo Switch emulation. The Steam Deck is not having a great week. First, there was that software bug causing joystick drift, and now this.

This certainly isn’t the first time that Nintendo has gone after emulators. They rather infamously triggered a wave of ROM and ISO site shutdowns a few years ago after issuing legal threats to some sites, like LoveRetro. The company has also been fairly repressive of YouTubers even playing their games. Nintendo regularly issues takedown notices for channels uploading content featuring their games. The issue is so common that many channels outright refuse to cover Nintendo products of any kind.

They justify these takedowns and anti-consumer policies by saying they would prefer people play these games legally, but there’s a problem. When it comes to retro games, original hardware is increasingly hard to find. Even original game cartridges are getting more expensive as time goes on. The ability of many gamers across the globe to find original hardware is not certain, thus the popularity of emulation. And yes, while you can use your own ROM dumps to emulate and avoid some legal consequences, Nintendo is notoriously litigious.

But Why?

It’s pretty easy to see why Nintendo would do this. They can claim that it’s to prevent piracy all day, but we all know that they want to thoroughly control the availability of classic games. Why? Because Nintendo love to use artificial scarcity to drive up prices. Their asinine approach to Amiibo is a perfect example of what Ninty does all the time. They release an intentionally limited number of a desirable product, and try to tap into the consumer hype to generate more sales.

Recently, they took their scumbaggery to new heights by only offering Super Mario 3D All-Stars as a limited-time product. There was no reason to do this, other than greed. It’s pretty clear that Nintendo wants to prevent people from emulating older games, so that the company can resell them to you later. And even then, they might just use online ROMs to power their resold ports. This is exactly what happened in 2017 with a Wii Virtual Console port.

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