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App Store now carries game emulators after Apple revises app policies

Apple has modified its App Store policies to allow for the global inclusion of retro gaming emulators, permitting users to download classic titles.

Since the launch of the first-ever iPhone, Apple has prohibited applications that execute code from an external source. Yet, the company recently revised the rules limiting the App Store, authorizing developers to make emulator apps for vintage console games that allow users to download them. However, the company warned that the developer bears responsibility for ensuring compliance with copyright regulations.

The modification follows legal mandates, such as the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) guidelines, with which Apple has been modifying its App Store guidelines to comply. Apart from retro game emulators, other areas covered by the amended rules are worldwide streaming game stores and facilitating in-app purchases for minigames and Al chatbots.

The reversed restriction stipulated clearly that the simulated games should comply with regular license agreements and be downloaded within the emulators. Theoretically, this implies developers can begin releasing iOS and iPadOS emulators on the App Store, allowing gamers to relive the glory days of beloved arcade hits like the Sega Classics Collection, similar to Nintendo Switch Online games.

This shift not only increases the variety of gaming experiences that iOS users may enjoy but also throws fresh revenue opportunities for developers, considering these emulation applications need to employ in-app purchases to sell digital merchandise, reports claimed.

Moreover, Apple’s amended provision now includes HTML5-based mini-apps, presumably to support services provided by super applications like WeChat. This more comprehensive strategy is to make the App Store’s ecosystem more inclusive.

Additionally, the modification will also be beneficial for music streaming services like Spotify, as it will enable them to utilize links to direct visitors to their websites for sales and display subscription details.

The rule change isn’t without criticism, though, as the company’s strategies, including the suppression of super applications, were brought to light by the Department of Justice’s recent lawsuit against Apple.

Nevertheless, Apple has committed to adapting to changing regulatory environments while weighing the interests of users and developers equally with its modifications to the App Store guidelines.


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