Apple officially allows retro game emulators on the App Store

In addition to updating its developer guidelines to allow music streaming apps to link to external website, Apple has also added new language that allows game emulators on the App Store. The updated guidelines, first noticed by 9to5Mac, now say that retro gaming console emulator apps are welcome and can even offer downloadable games. Apple also reportedly confirmed to developers in an email that they can create and offer emulators on its marketplace.

Emulator software wasn’t allowed on the App Store prior to this update, though developers have been finding ways to distribute them to iOS users. To be able to install them, users usually need to resort to jailbreaking and downloading sideloading tools or unsanctioned alternate app stores first. This rule update potentially eliminates the need for users to go through all those lengths and could bring more Android emulators to iOS.

Apple warns developers, however, that they “are responsible for all such software offered in [their] app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.” Clearly, allowing emulators on the App Store doesn’t mean that it’s allowing pirated games, as well. Any app offering titles for download that the developer doesn’t own the rights to is a no-no, so fans of specific consoles will just have to hope that their companies are planning to release official emulators for iOS. While these latest changes to Apple’s developer guidelines seem to be motivated by the EU’s Digital Markets Act regulation, which targets big tech companies’ anti-competitive practices, the new rule on emulators applies to all developers worldwide.

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