RetroArch Emulator Framework Launches on Steam

Published: September 14, 2021 9:41 PM /


RetroArch Emulator Framework Steam cover

The RetroArch Emulator Framework has made a surprising debut on Steam, giving the Steam Deck a powerful new tool for playing somewhat older games that might not be as easy to get anymore.

Most people who emulate games will use their favorite standalone solution. Emulation has advanced significantly in recent years, though, and one of the more interesting parts of that progress is the RetroArch emulator framework. Now, you can finally get it on Steam -- and it's totally free.


RetroArch Emulator Framework Steam menu
This is just one of several menu styles for the RetroArch Emulator framework.

Why the RetroArch Emulator Framework Coming to Steam is a Big Deal

The release of the RetroArch emulator framework on Steam -- announced earlier today on Twitter -- will make it much easier to emulate games from your favorite old consoles. Critically, it also may avoid any issues with being taken down.

You see, RetroArch is not an emulator in and of itself -- note the "framework" part of its description. Rather, it's a system that allows you to conveniently organize and launch all of your emulators in one place. Some emulators will be available as DLC through Steam, but today's announcement (mirrored on Patreon, as the main RetroArch website is having some troubles) notes that it can be used to run all sorts of different programs.

Central to RetroArch is the concept of "Cores" -- essentially other programs that run through the RetroArch emulator framework. These can be emulators or really any other program as long as it can properly hook into the program. A total of ten cores will be available as DLC on Steam, but you can add pretty much any supported core you like to RetroArch by simply dragging it into the correct folder.


The RetroArch Steam release means that it's much easier to actually download emulators for people who may not be familiar with how they work. What's even more interesting is the fact that its inclusion on Steam will mean that owners of the upcoming Steam Deck handheld (if they were able to get one, that is) won't necessarily have to try to figure out how to sideload their favorite emulator. Chalk up one more in the "Pros" column for considering the Steam Deck as a budget gaming PC.

You can learn more about RetroArch by visiting its official website or reading through its documentation. And as this story highlights, you can now download the RetroArch emulator framework on Steam, too.

What do you think of the RetroArch emulator framework launching on Steam? Do you think it will eventually get taken down? Let us know in the comments below!


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