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Game Emulators Now Available on iOS App Store Following Apple Policy Change

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 15, 2024

Game Emulators Now Available on iOS App Store Following Apple Policy Change

Apple’s recent relaxation of its App Store guidelines has opened the door for game emulators to make their debut on the iOS platform. Just a week after Apple’s policy shift, iPhone and iPad users can finally access emulators for retro gaming consoles.

Reports from AppleInsider indicate that emulators such as Emu 64 XL for Commodore 64 and iGBA for Gameboy Advance and Gameboy Color have become available on the App Store. These emulators, which are free to download and devoid of in-app purchases, offer users the opportunity to relive nostalgic gaming experiences on their iOS devices.

The move marks a significant departure from Apple’s previous stance on emulators. Until recently, the tech giant prohibited the distribution of emulator apps on the App Store. This decision left iPhone users feeling left out, as similar apps have long been available on the Android platform. Apple’s strict policies regarding emulators have often been criticized for their anti-competitive nature, limiting the options available to users and developers alike.

However, Apple’s sudden policy change appears to be driven by external pressures, including legal challenges. The company has faced scrutiny from European regulators, resulting in hefty fines, and is currently embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. By permitting retro game console emulator apps, Apple may be attempting to preempt further legal action and address concerns about its monopolistic practices.

Emulators occupy a legal gray area, as they enable users to play games for which the developers do not hold the rights. This presents a complex challenge for both Apple and third-party developers. Despite these challenges, the availability of emulators on the iOS App Store signals a shift in Apple’s approach to app distribution and reflects the company’s efforts to adapt to changing regulatory landscapes.

Emu 64 XL and iGBA are compatible with a range of Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Emu 64 XL is optimized for iPads but also functions on iPhones and Macs running iOS 11 and macOS 11 or higher. Similarly, iGBA supports iPhones, iPads (running iOS 12 and iPadOS 12 or higher), and M1 Macs.


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Featured Image courtesy of Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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