Dolphin Emulator will now only be supported on Windows 10 and newer

Dolphin-logo.jpg

Popular Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin will no longer support operating systems older than Windows 10. Coming just weeks after Nintendo Switch emulator Ryujinx made a similar announcement, the coming change was hinted at in the last Dolphin progress report, posted on May 17, while discussing an issue caused by Windows 7. Two days later, a change was noticed by reddit user u/DolphinUser on the official website's FAQ, saying that Dolphin is supported on Windows 10 and newer. A Dolphin developer responded, saying they would "have an official announcement with full reasoning and data coming up soon."
 

ihaveahax

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It was bound to happen at some point and people need to move on eventually. Even if security risks aren't an issue for you, Windows 7 is not receiving feature updates that applications may need to work. Like in Dolphin's case where multiple APIs are missing from Windows 7, but are available in 10 (and maybe 8.1).
 

Catastrophic

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Whenever I check out threads like these or that Ryujinx one I'm always flabbergasted by the amount of people who complain or make passive aggressive comments about developer's decision to not support Windows 7 anymore. It's over 12 years old at this point and has been discontinued for over 2 years. It receives no security updates, no feature updates and hardly any driver updates. What the hell did people expect was gonna happen? If you don't want to use Windows 10(which you almost definitely have no reason not to), use Linux. There's literally no reason for developers to keep developing software with Windows 7 in mind.
 

Marc_LFD

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It was bound to happen at some point and people need to move on eventually. Even if security risks aren't an issue for you, Windows 7 is not receiving feature updates that applications may need to work. Like in Dolphin's case where multiple APIs are missing from Windows 7, but are available in 10 (and maybe 8.1).
M$ has done a lot of very anti-consumer moves with Windows 11 so some of us will wait for Windows 12 (hopefully it's not the shitstain that's 11). If the devs forced users to use 11 simply to use their emulators, they'd be punishing them, not helping.
 

Kurt91

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Well, can't wait to read the reasoning. As it is, Dolphin is in amazing condition now... And short of amazing optimization and game breaking bug fixes... There's not much cause for worry.
According to the Progress Report, because Dolphin has to be able to support all kinds of weird and unusual controllers (Wii Remotes, for starters), it's very important for them to support the newest input API. And wouldn't you know it, Microsoft released a new one called "Windows.Gaming.Input". Apparently controller manufacturers and most software developers weren't implementing Xinput correctly, and it eventually got so bad that controller manufacturers were using improperly-developed software to test their controllers, resulting in improperly-developed controllers, and it got to where actually implementing Xinput correctly would end up breaking things.

So, Microsoft's new API is designed to work properly when correctly implemented and even when incorrectly implemented, to work around mistakes made by controller and software developers. However, Microsoft isn't rolling out this new API to pre-Windows 10 systems. Meaning that if Dolphin is to stay up-to-date on input API and keep controllers working, they're forced to abandon pre-Windows 10 as well.

Just in case my summary is mis-understanding things, here's a copy/paste from the Progress Report.

Long ago, there was DirectInput (DInput). This was Microsoft's original input API for game controllers on Windows, going all the way back to Windows 95. It was/is fairly messy by today's standards, requiring manual mapping of each button individually, but it was/is extremely flexible, able to handle any and all types of game control devices. However, once Microsoft created the Xbox 360, they wanted a way to easily connect a 360 controller to a PC without mapping or other hassle. So Microsoft created a new input API, XInput. While it is much less configurable than DInput, its simplicity allowed game developers to ship mappings for it within the game itself, so user mapping was no longer required.

Microsoft knew that they would want to add features to their controllers with new consoles, so they added a way to expand Xinput’s functionality with XInputGetCapabilities (link). This Windows function allowed a controller to report if it had differing functionality than a 360 controller, potentially allowing for future expandability or even “weird” functionality like touchpads or gyros featured on other controllers. However, it turned out that the majority of programs took a bit of a shortcut and ignored non-essential parts of the XInput spec. If a controller used XInputGetCapabilities, it was very unlikely to encounter software that even noticed. This laziness dripped down toward manufacturers, and many controllers began to improperly implement the XInput API because the games they used to test weren’t enforcing it correctly. If one of these flawed controllers was used in a software that actually supported the full, proper XInput spec, the software could crash. Ask us how we know.

When Microsoft created new Xbox controllers, they wanted to support the controller’s new functionality on Windows. Now with a reason to resolve the XInputGetCapabilities nightmare, Microsoft’s devised a solution - make a new input API. Naturally.

The creatively named “Windows.Gaming.Input” (WGI) is the newest input API for Windows. This ambitious new API seeks to combine the best of both DInput and XInput into a single API, with a new input-centric approach that theoretically will give it the flexibility for many different types of input devices while maintaining easy setup and use. However, those new features haven't been implemented yet, and as it stands today it is basically just XInput plus One/Series controller features. And it's still missing esssential features that aren't on their Xbox controllers, like accelerometers and gyros, so currently WGI is just yet another Microsoft input API for Microsoft input devices.

Regardless, Dolphin's need to emulate Wii Remotes and several odd controllers for the GameCube and Wii makes having robust input API support a higher priority for us than most other programs, so supporting Windows.Gaming.Input was a natural choice. Many benefits are immediate, as it supports up to eight simultaneous controllers (up from four with XInput), support for the Xbox One/Series rumble triggers, and has better battery reporting. Basically everything we were hoping XInputGetCapabilities would be. However, if the input-centric WGI future comes to pass, users may be able to use it for all kinds of different input devices. We shall see.

It also broke our Windows 7 support.
 

ChaoticCinnabon

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Well i already pirate windows and have done so since like 8.1, plus dolphin is already in a near perfect state imo so even if i didn't i'd be fine.

Also linux is a thing and by god i hope it continues to seep into the mainstream because microsoft is only gonna get worse every release if it means making money. It's dogshit already and i would move if i could but my main PC is also a workstation so i'm kinda fucked lol.
 

Kioku_Dreams

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According to the Progress Report, because Dolphin has to be able to support all kinds of weird and unusual controllers (Wii Remotes, for starters), it's very important for them to support the newest input API. And wouldn't you know it, Microsoft released a new one called "Windows.Gaming.Input". Apparently controller manufacturers and most software developers weren't implementing Xinput correctly, and it eventually got so bad that controller manufacturers were using improperly-developed software to test their controllers, resulting in improperly-developed controllers, and it got to where actually implementing Xinput correctly would end up breaking things.

So, Microsoft's new API is designed to work properly when correctly implemented and even when incorrectly implemented, to work around mistakes made by controller and software developers. However, Microsoft isn't rolling out this new API to pre-Windows 10 systems. Meaning that if Dolphin is to stay up-to-date on input API and keep controllers working, they're forced to abandon pre-Windows 10 as well.

Just in case my summary is mis-understanding things, here's a copy/paste from the Progress Report.

Long ago, there was DirectInput (DInput). This was Microsoft's original input API for game controllers on Windows, going all the way back to Windows 95. It was/is fairly messy by today's standards, requiring manual mapping of each button individually, but it was/is extremely flexible, able to handle any and all types of game control devices. However, once Microsoft created the Xbox 360, they wanted a way to easily connect a 360 controller to a PC without mapping or other hassle. So Microsoft created a new input API, XInput. While it is much less configurable than DInput, its simplicity allowed game developers to ship mappings for it within the game itself, so user mapping was no longer required.

Microsoft knew that they would want to add features to their controllers with new consoles, so they added a way to expand Xinput’s functionality with XInputGetCapabilities (link). This Windows function allowed a controller to report if it had differing functionality than a 360 controller, potentially allowing for future expandability or even “weird” functionality like touchpads or gyros featured on other controllers. However, it turned out that the majority of programs took a bit of a shortcut and ignored non-essential parts of the XInput spec. If a controller used XInputGetCapabilities, it was very unlikely to encounter software that even noticed. This laziness dripped down toward manufacturers, and many controllers began to improperly implement the XInput API because the games they used to test weren’t enforcing it correctly. If one of these flawed controllers was used in a software that actually supported the full, proper XInput spec, the software could crash. Ask us how we know.

When Microsoft created new Xbox controllers, they wanted to support the controller’s new functionality on Windows. Now with a reason to resolve the XInputGetCapabilities nightmare, Microsoft’s devised a solution - make a new input API. Naturally.

The creatively named “Windows.Gaming.Input” (WGI) is the newest input API for Windows. This ambitious new API seeks to combine the best of both DInput and XInput into a single API, with a new input-centric approach that theoretically will give it the flexibility for many different types of input devices while maintaining easy setup and use. However, those new features haven't been implemented yet, and as it stands today it is basically just XInput plus One/Series controller features. And it's still missing esssential features that aren't on their Xbox controllers, like accelerometers and gyros, so currently WGI is just yet another Microsoft input API for Microsoft input devices.

Regardless, Dolphin's need to emulate Wii Remotes and several odd controllers for the GameCube and Wii makes having robust input API support a higher priority for us than most other programs, so supporting Windows.Gaming.Input was a natural choice. Many benefits are immediate, as it supports up to eight simultaneous controllers (up from four with XInput), support for the Xbox One/Series rumble triggers, and has better battery reporting. Basically everything we were hoping XInputGetCapabilities would be. However, if the input-centric WGI future comes to pass, users may be able to use it for all kinds of different input devices. We shall see.

It also broke our Windows 7 support.
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the informative post.
 

WG481

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stop crying lmao, 11 is a really good os
Yes, definitely.
Even though it's not supported on hardware as old as 2 years.
Even though it uses more system resources by placing the Windows 10 taskbar underneath the 11 one (weird, right?).
Even though it makes no significant QoL contributions.
Even though Home and Basic users get a lot more restrictions compared to Pro users ($100+ upgrade)
It is definitely a good OS.

No, it isn't.
 

nolimits59

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shame too, considering a ton of people (myself included) still use Windows 7 32 bit.
Lmao, dude, for real, you run on a Sempron or what ?
Win7 is already an source of hassles and slowdown on a used PC, but 7 32 bits ? For real, tell me your adress I will send you a i7 920 for free mate you will be able to use win8.1 / 10 on a SSD without any problem at least AND in 64 bits.

Damn I laughed so hard, you must really not use your computer to run a 32 bits OS on Win7, and you SURELY aren't user of Dolphin, as it's now almost a decade that Dolphin dropped support of 32 bits.
 
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