Apple updates App Store terms to allow game emulators

Apple revised its App Store guidelines this week, permitting emulators for retro console games worldwide with an option for downloading titles. Nonetheless, the company cautioned that developers must ensure compliance with copyright regulations.

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While Android users already have access to numerous emulators for playing old classics on their devices, Apple’s update is likely to encourage some of those developers to introduce their emulators to the App Store.

According to Apple, these emulator apps must utilize an in-app purchase mechanism to offer digital items. With Apple needing to adjust App Store rules due to regulatory requirements, such games could serve as an additional revenue source for the company.

In January, Apple, in compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules, released the initial set of rules and announced its global allowance of streaming game stores. It also updated App Store regulations at that time to support in-app purchases for mini-games and AI chatbots.

Apple also revised the clause on Friday to cover HTLM5-based mini-apps offered by super apps like WeChat.

“Apps may offer certain software that is not embedded in the binary, specifically HTML5 mini apps and mini-games, streaming games, chatbots, and plug-ins. Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games,” the clause stated.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple, citing the suppression of super apps as one of the five points in the lawsuit regarding the company’s monopolistic practices.

Another significant update to the rules permits music streaming services, such as Spotify, to display information about subscriptions and other digital purchases, along with including links to drive users to their website to complete the purchase.

Last month, Spotify submitted an update in the App Store to display pricing information to EU-based users. However, Apple has yet to approve Spotify’s submission, and the music streaming platform stated that it is still reviewing Apple’s updated rules.

“Following the law is not optional, but Apple continues to defy that decision. Effective April 6th, the Commission can start noncompliance proceedings and impose daily fines. It’s time for decisive action to once and for all give consumers real choice,” said Spotify Spokesperson Jeanne Moran in a statement.