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Retroarch emulation software coming to Steam on July 30th

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Today, Retroarch, one of the most popular emulation programs, has been announced to be receiving a Steam release on July 30th.

Retroarch is a modular program, essential a front-end for individual emulator programs referred to as “cores”. This allows emulation for a multitude of consoles (ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Gamecube).

Seeing Retroarch receive a full Steam release is unexpected, mainly due to the general perception of emulation being correlated with software piracy. Regardless, it is a welcome addition, and perhaps could lead to more legitimatizing press for emulation.

The most interesting news to accompany the Steam release comes from the announcement, stating:


“Expect a barebones release at first that is basically identical to the version you are able to download on our website. Once the initial release is done, we can start catering to Steam's advanced features.”

“*While RetroArch is in its barebones state, there will be no Steamworks SDK usage of any kind.”

Who knows what sort of Steamworks functionality awaits Retroarch as the release becomes more polished.

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An emulation program coming to Steam? This is actually a pretty big step into normalizing emulation. People think of it as piracy only because they don't understand what it is. Once you put it out on center stage on a trusted platform, then people might start to take notice, and look into it. Though, this can bring up the problem with copyright holders, and if they see these programs as an attack on their rights, so putting something like this on Steam might also be a bad move. We'll definitely have to see where this goes, hoping for the best.

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I hope for the best for this too, though I wouldn't be surprised if pirates that are already abusing the Steam Workshop for the Sega Genesis Hub emulator that Sega released and take advantage of the tools for uploading ROM hacks (a.k.a. the "mods" of games available on Steam) to the Workshop as a means to pirate even more ROMs/Warez (including games that aren't on the Sega Genesis) that may or may not be legally available already through Steam.

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