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Apple launches emulators of old games on the App Store

Apple launches emulators of old games on the App Store

Apple has started allowing game emulators in the App Store, its own app store. Updated guidelines, first noted by the site 9to5MacNow, mention that apps that emulate old game consoles are welcome and can also offer games for download.

For those in a hurry:

  • Apple has updated its guidelines, now allowing older console emulator apps to be displayed on the App Store – even with the option to make the games available for download;
  • Previously, it was necessary to use unauthorized methods, such as jailbreaking or sideloading, to install emulators on iPhones, for example – a practice that may now become obsolete with the new policy;
  • Although emulators are allowed, Apple requires developers to be responsible for the content of their apps, ensuring compliance with gaming laws and rights;
  • The change in Apple's guidelines appears to be in response to the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), but it applies to developers around the world.

Until then, emulators were prohibited from being available on the App Store. But developers have found ways to distribute it to users of iOS, the iPhone's operating system. To be able to install them, users often have to resort to jailbreaks and sideloaders. Or alternative app stores not authorized by the company.

Read more:

Retro emulators in the App Store

App Store
(Photo: Tada Pictures/Shutterstock)

For starters, this base update from Apple could eliminate the need for users to go through such winding paths to enjoy old games on their devices. Additionally, the update could make room for emulators available for Android to arrive on iOS.

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However, Apple warns developers that they are “responsible for all software provided in [seu] Application, including ensuring that this software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws. In other words, emulators in the App Store: you can. Pirated games for emulation: You can't.

A person playing on an iPhone using a PlayStation 4 controller
(Image: DenPhotos/Shutterstock)

Legally, this caveat means that in the case of apps with downloadable titles, developers must have the rights to the titles. In practical terms, this means that fans of certain consoles will have to hope that their companies plan to release official iOS emulators.

The latest changes to Apple's developer guidelines appear to be prompted by regulation of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which targets anti-competitive practices by big tech companies. But the new rule regarding emulators applies to developers all over the world.

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