Home Apple opens App Store to game emulators amid EU pressure

Apple opens App Store to game emulators amid EU pressure


  • Apple permits game emulators on its platforms due to EU regulations.
  • Developers can now distribute emulators via the App Store.
  • EU fines Apple over App Store rules; changes made in response to antitrust pressure.

Apple has announced that it will allow game emulators on its platforms, as part of a raft of new guidelines to adhere to European Union regulations.

For the first time developers can now develop and distribute game emulators via the App Store. The news was sent to developers through an email from the company.

Since iPhones were first rolled out, developers have been attempting to distribute game emulators to iOS users, despite App Store policies prohibiting emulator software. Some apps managed to skirt Apple’s review mechanisms by camouflaging their true functions and hiding emulators within them. However, that is set to change with the new guidelines.

The mini apps and game streaming section has been revised to encompass game emulators. Apple states, “retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games.”

However, the tech giant warns developers they are “responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.” The status of emulators has always been legally ambiguous as it’s unclear who owns the rights.

In March, the European Commission fined Apple around $2 billion over its alleged abusive App Store rules for music streaming providers. Under the Digital Markets Act, which came into effect last month, it’ll be illegal for the most powerful tech firms to favor their own services over their rivals.

The changes also appeared to respond to the antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States, alleging that Apple was trying to suppress cloud game streaming applications and super apps. In a recent shift, Apple has begun to allow cloud streaming platforms, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now, access to the App Store.

Apple continues to contest the recent EU decisions, and the European Commission will likely call for further changes.

EU investigation into platforms

Apple, Google parent company Alphabet and Facebook owner Meta are all being investigated by the EU under the Digital Market Act, key legislation designed to keep competition fair.

Both Apple and Google are being investigated over their mobile app stores, which the EU previously ordered must allow greater competition on their respective platforms.

Featured image: Canva

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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