Apple finally allows game emulators on iOS

Apple finally allows game emulators on iOS


08 April 2024

Apple is removing App Store limitations and making the marketplace available to retro gaming emulators. Apple said on Friday that game emulators will now be available for download on the App Store worldwide. Apple states that games must follow "all applicable laws," implying a ban on apps offering stolen content.

With this change, the remaining Android retro console emulators should be able to port their apps to the iPhone. Since iOS has long prohibited game emulators, owners of iPhones have been looking for various ways to get around the ban, such as jailbreaking their device. Now that third-party app stores are legal in the EU, they're also one of the main reasons why iPhone owners there may want to check them out. Apple's latest move may prevent that.

Apple amended its regulations on super apps, like WeChat, in addition to the new limits regarding emulators. It now makes it clear that the mini-games and mini-apps inside of these apps cannot be native apps or games; instead, they must use HTML5.

The United States launched an antitrust complaint against Apple, alleging the company is trying to crush mega applications and cloud game streaming apps. This appears to be the reason behind the shift. Recently, Apple began allowing cloud streaming services to be available on the App Store, such as GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Apple appears to be giving in to pressure from the European Commission outside of the US. The business announced today that it will now permit in-app links pointing users toward outside purchases and mentioning pricing information in music streaming apps within the European Union. It will also allow developers to “invite users to provide their email address for the express purpose of sending them a link to the developer’s website to purchase digital music content or services.”

After the Commission declared Apple's anti-steering regulations to be "illegal," Spotify made an attempt to upgrade its app with connections to its website so users could buy subscriptions, but Apple took weeks to approve the modification. Spotify is still not thrilled with Apple's most recent move, though, as Apple continues to intend to impose a fee on sales made through external links, even though EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has stated that Apple must permit "free" communication between users and music streaming apps.

According to Spotify spokesperson Jeanne Moran, "Apple continues to defy that decision, but following the law is not optional. The Commission may initiate noncompliance actions and levy daily fines as of April 6th. It's time to take strong steps to finally provide customers true choice.

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