Apple just opened up the App Store to game emulators, but there's a catch

Emulators running on mobile
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple updated its App Store guidelines yesterday, April 5, to make it much easier to access game emulators through its digital storefront.

It's the latest concession to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) for the European Union, however, like Apple's previous changes to game streaming apps, the rules are changing worldwide. After Spotify and other parties criticized Apple's steps to comply, an amendment to the App Store guidelines page opened the doors to video game emulators that allow for game downloads.

“Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games,” the section in the guidelines for mini apps and game streaming, but the caveat is that developers are “responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.”

That could mean emulators are only able to offer titles from the same developers, which could make things less appealing for retro gaming enthusiasts. Still, these changes also apply to Game Streaming, which may renew some hope for Xbox Game Pass subscribers hoping to play on their iPhone or iPad.

WeChat login screen

(Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Streaming services and 'Super Apps'

It's not just emulators that are seeing a more relaxed certification process for the App Store, as music streaming services will now be able to send users to a website to sign up for subscriptions.

This applies to music streaming apps "in specific regions" that can be implemented by something like a buy button.

So-called "Super Apps", like WeChat, are also benefitting from the change. Each section within a Super App must now use HTML 5. Apple locking out such apps was a major reason for the DOJ's recent lawsuit, so it could end up being effective in facilitating change in more regions than just Europe.

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Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom. Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more. He’s also the Editor in Chief at, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.