There are now restrictions for retro game emulators in the iOS App Store, despite their previous ban.

Mini apps and music streaming

Apple has announced that retro game emulators will be allowed in the iOS App Store, a change that appears to be in response to pressure from regulators. The updated App Review Guidelines now permit “retro game console emulator apps to offer to download games,” albeit with certain conditions.

Developers are required to ensure that all software inside these emulators complies with applicable laws, particularly around the issue of game ownership. The legality of emulators has always been a gray area, with the law prohibiting the use of emulated games that have not been legitimately purchased.

Companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo may leverage this rule change to offer emulator apps through the App Store. Apple emphasizes that developers are accountable for the content within their apps and must adhere to legal standards.

Spotify has long complained about Apple’s practices (Image credit: Spotify)

Furthermore, the guidelines now permit apps to include mini apps and mini games that are written in HTML5. This is applicable for ‘super apps’ like WeChat, offering a variety of apps within the same package. These apps are now required to be web-based rather than running natively on the device.

Another significant amendment allows music streaming apps to redirect users to external websites for purchasing products and services, bypassing Apple’s payment systems. However, this modification only applies to European Union countries, where Apple recently faced penalties for restricting streaming services to its platform.

While Apple hasn’t officially acknowledged it, these changes are likely strategic moves to avoid further fines and legal entanglements. The company is facing increased scrutiny over its policies towards third-party apps and developers, prompting these adjustments to remain compliant with regulations.

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