Apple allows Retro Game Emulators to be published on the App Store

Retro gamers rejoice as Apple finally allows them to download retro video games from the App Store. However, the restrictions on this rule have left gamers confused.

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Apple Retro Video Game Emulator

Apple Retro Video Game Emulator (Image via Apple and YouTube/@cozyalpaca)

Apple has been strictly against the emulators. Such apps have been banned on the App Store since its launch in 2008. The only way to get an emulator on your Apple device was through jailbreaking your device, sideloading or somehow accessing alternate stores for apps. 

However, the tech giant has recently taken several measures to reduce the restrictions on apps published on their App Store such as allowing cloud gaming services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and NVIDIA GeForce Now on their devices. In the same spirit, the company has finally allowed retro video game emulators and other such gaming emulators to be published on the app store.

Retro video game emulators are software that allows you to experience an old console, including its UI and video games, on your device. Not only do these allow you to play games from different retro consoles on the same device, but you can also enjoy such games with increased performance thanks to the upgrade in hardware since then. 

 Playing such games through an emulator can also allow you to access features not part of the original game. These include using cheats, playing online, or creating additional save files. 

Apple welcomes Retro Video Game Emulators to the App Store

There are a few caveats to the tech giant's move to allow retro video game emulators. Firstly, the tech company has warned developers that they would solely be responsible for all content uploaded on such apps. Developers must ensure that these apps abide by Apple's guidelines and that all applicable laws are followed. 

Retro Video Game emulators on Apple iPhone (Image via UnlockBoot)


Apple has also clarified that they do not condone piracy in any way. If any emulator features a game that the publisher does not own the right to, it will be banned. Hence, if you wish to play any particular game from a retro console, you will have to wait for that published to release their own official emulator for the App Store. 

Apple did not reveal the reason for finally changing its stance on emulators. However, this move likely stems from two reasons. The first was the antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple for prohibiting cloud services. This lawsuit is what led to the change of them allowing cloud gaming on their devices. 

The second is the EU Digital Markets Act regulation which targets anti-competitive practices from huge tech companies such as Apple. Note that the new emulator rule still applies worldwide. The company wishes to avoid criticism and getting into legal trouble in the future. Hence, they have recently started showing leniency with the regulations on their App Store. 

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