App Store allows downloading game emulators, is retro gamers’ iPhone moment really coming?

The walls of the App Store are being gradually dismantled.

The ban on applications running external code is one of the oldest rules in the Apple Store. For a long time, game consoles and classic game emulators have been banned from Apple devices.

The App Store’s updated Developer Guidelines 4.7 rules break this “cage”.

The latest rules state:

"Software without embedded binaries" is now allowed to run within apps hosted on the App Store, and "retro console emulator apps" are included in the list.

This means that Apple users can download game emulators from the App Store without jailbreaking, and can run HTML5 applets and games, streaming games, chatbots and other functions.

Gradually liberalizing the Apple Mall, retro players will get a taste of the benefits first

This update is very important for the move towards an open App Store; but for most Apple users, even mobile game players, it actually has little impact, or is even unaware of it.

Because mobile phone side-end game emulators only belong to a small group of moderate to severe gamers.

For example, some of the classic works that were played on Subtitles, GameBoy and NDSL in the early years are no longer available due to aging equipment, product delisting, and high individual purchase costs. However, some players are very fond of such retro games. At this time Emulators are the best bridge between the old and new eras: allowing games to run normally on devices that cannot run them.

The simulator has two main functions:

  • Enable the mobile phone to correctly recognize files of corresponding formats
  • Simulate the operation keys on old game consoles

Through the game simulator, you can bring your gaming experience back to the card-inserted mobile arcade era as much as possible: the games are not big, all have pixel-level graphics, and there are no complicated operations, but they are full of memories.

Although the visual, sound effects and operation can replicate the gaming experience of traditional game consoles as much as possible, without the interaction of physical buttons, the soul of retro games is often lost.

Apple’s opening up this time can be said to be both comprehensive and thorough. The App Store not only allows built-in emulator applications on mobile phones, but also allows access to third-party hardware devices.

According to actual test feedback from technology website The Verge, an external handle similar to the Backbone One can be connected directly through the charging port (Lightning/USB-C). The handle is clamped horizontally to both ends of the iPhone, plug and play.

In order to increase the grip feel, Apple is also considering designing a set of 3D printing adaptation models specifically for the raised camera module.

If you already have a Switch, this Nintendo device can also be used with the iPhone. It can be directly connected to the phone through the proprietary Joy-Con adapter without having to buy a new external device.

▲ Picture from: YouTube

The direct beneficiaries of these programs are players of retro games such as "Super Monkey Ball", "Shrek" and "Pokémon".

There is no need to purchase separate exclusive equipment in the future to relive these "memories of the past."

Although emulator apps can provide game downloads, the rules require developers to be responsible for all content they provide, including ensuring that it complies with Apple's guidelines and all applicable laws:

1. Comply with all privacy provisions, including but not limited to provisions regarding the collection, use and sharing of data and sensitive data (such as health data and children's personal data);
2. Add methods to screen objectionable content, mechanisms to report content and promptly respond to concerns, and the ability to block abusive users;
3. Use in-App purchases to provide digital goods or services to end users;
4. Apps may not extend or expose the software’s native platform API without prior permission;
5. In each instance, the App shall not share the data or privacy rights of any individual software provided in the App without the explicit consent of the user;
6. An index of the software and metadata available in the App must be provided, which must contain universal links to all software provided in the App;
7. Apps must use an age rating based on the highest age rating of the content provided in the App.

Behind the liberalization, it is still to seize the market

The further opening of the App Store will inevitably be fueled by the EU and European markets.

Previously, Apple has made many compromises under the EU's tough attitude, such as changing the iPhone's charging interface to USB-C. This year, in order to comply with the requirements of the EU Digital Market Act (DMA), Apple decided to open iPhone sideloading. Allow users to install third-party apps through other channels.

Now, Apple has to make changes again in order to adapt to a series of new EU regulations.

Game emulators have been banned from the App Store for a long time, and player groups, especially in the European market, have a high desire for retro games on the mobile side. Therefore, many users will "jailbreak" or replace their Android devices to satisfy the corresponding requirements. needs.

In this case, Apple needs to maintain its original market share and minimize losses in the face of the EU's tough antitrust measures.

Therefore, allowing the download of third-party game emulators is not only a forced concession by Apple under high pressure, but also a proactive change in a fiercely competitive market.

However, unlike "only European App Stores are allowed to download third-party applications", game emulators are likely to be updated worldwide, which means that Apple users in any country and region will have the opportunity to use them on their devices. emulator.

How to deal with the different attitudes towards game emulators in different countries and regions (some consider them legal, some consider them illegal) is the next problem Apple will face.

In January of this year, we conducted a detailed analysis of "Apple allows downloading of apps from third parties" and left one question:

Will the forced openness of the iOS ecosystem be a good thing for developers, users and the market?

The slowly liberalizing Apple Mall has given users in some areas more choices. The European Union’s 1.84 billion sky-high fine is also promoting a freer streaming music software subscription method. The gradual spread of game emulators has given retro Game enthusiasts can play the games of that year using iPhone.

At present, it seems that the increasingly open Apple ecosystem is good for all parties.

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