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Apple's New Rules Mean There's A Game Emulator On The App Store Now

One app developer is taking full advantage of Apple's recently relaxed stance on game emulators.

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Earlier this month, Apple relaxed its famously strict App Store guidelines to comply with the EU's new Digital Markets Act. In one major change, game emulators will now be allowed on the App Store, and one developer has immediately taken advantage of the change to publish Delta--a self-described "all-in-one Nintendo emulator."

Delta's App Store page describes it as an "an all-in-one emulator for iOS," which "builds upon the strengths of its predecessor, GBA4iOS, while expanding to include support for more game systems such as NES, SNES, N64, and DS." The emulator's description also promises emulation support for more consoles will be on the way.

The Nintendo emulator has been available on iOS through less-official means for some time now, with its developer also providing an app called AltStore that used a workaround for Apple's systems to install apps that weren't allowed to be distributed through the App Store. "Delta of course [was] not allowed in the App Store due to Appleโ€™s stance on emulation," the developer said in a 2019 blog on AltStore.

Delta is only available on the App Store outside of the EU, as the app's developer Testut Tech has launched its own alternative app store called AltStore PAL in the EU, which it uses to distribute Delta in that region. AltStore PAL also launched recently, in response to the EU requiring Apple (and other platform operators) to allow alternative app marketplaces in their operating systems.

While Apple's App Store guidelines now allow "retro game console emulator apps," it also warns 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." Delta may have been approved by Apple for the App Store for now, but it's yet to be seen if the app will remain available long-term.

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