The creator of a PSP emulator has said it will come to iPhone but ‘it all depends on how Apple interprets their own rules’

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The Sony PSP is almost 20 years old now and it can be a bit hard to find the console, and all its games, without paying exorbitant fees. Luckily, one emulator in the works for iPhone may let you play to your heart's content, if Apple can make its guidelines clearer.

As originally spotted by the retro gaming website, RetroDodo, PPSSPP, the PSP emulator has plans to launch on iPhone later this year. The problem lies in the game files themself. Apple has stated it will allow “retro game console emulator apps” but has also clarified that “links must be provided to all downloadable software.” As the creators of these emulators don’t actually own the rights to the games that could work in their software, they cannot offer download links. The emulator gives users the ability to play UMDs of games they have dumped themselves, that aren’t actually offered through the app.

Henrik Rydgård, the creator of PPSSPP, said in a recent blog post: “If it turns out that the rules now allow emulators with ISO/ROM pickers, PPSSPP will come to the App Store later this year. If not, well, it won't!” The hurdle is a strange one, as Delta appears to have successfully launched its own emulator on the App Store using this exact functionality, which Apple has approved.

Emulation troubles

This is not the only game emulator for iPhone to run into problems. DolphiniOS, the emulation app that could run GameCube and Wii games on your best iPhone, has failed to launch on the App Store. Essentially, it needs to do some hardware wizardry to get the CPU of iPhones to run the emulator, and Apple won’t allow it to do so. Taking to X, DolphiniOS said:

“Even with the recent App Store policy changes, DolphiniOS still cannot be submitted to the App Store due to Apple's restrictions.”

“Dolphin requires access to JIT support for fast CPU emulation, but Apple continues to heavily restrict access to this feature.”

Though the prospect of video game emulation support on iPhone is an exciting one, there are still plenty of growing pains around the specifics of their use and developers have been left in the dark in regard to potential fixes.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.