Apple allows game emulators with outside sources of ROMs Apple allows game emulators with outside sources of ROMs

A week ago, Apple updated its guidelines for developers and admitted game emulators to the App Store. This move is not the first one in the line of steps made by the company in the spirit of demonopolization. There’s a “but” here, of course: those previous steps were not voluntary, the giant was forced by the EU to allow app installs from third-party sites, and DoJ is in the process of making things less stuffy on the US market, too. The update in question, though, wasn’t a result of outside coercion. So, what’s the catch?

Let’s see how Apple words the permission:

…retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games. You are responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.

If you’ve been using emulators to play old games on your laptop or Android phone, you’ve most likely downloaded ROMs, i.e., images of cartridges or CDs, from any of hundreds of sites offering them. The question of piracy is rarely considered in such cases, but the potential for breaking the law is there: some retro games are in public domain, but there are numerous titles that still have copyright owners behind them. Thus, the possible interpretation of the updated developer guidelines implies that it’s the emulator app that should sort out such matters.

This means that either emulator developers go into all the trouble of finding copyright holders and signing respective deals with them, or such holders, like Sega and Nintendo, build their own emulators and populate them with games, charging what they want for such trips down the memory lane.

Are you a gamer? Or maybe you need a distraction every now and then to let your brain sort things out in the background? Then check out the Games section of Mac Informer’s collection:

Games for Mac

And don’t forget to download and install Mac Informer itself, it’ll take care of updates and everything else to keep your software up and running smoothly:

Download Mac Informer

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