Apple draws the retro iPhone gaming emulator line at… MS-DOS PCs

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Image credit – AltStore

Apple’s often arbitrary rules for developer who want to post something on the App Store have been in full display many times, but the latest iOS retro emulator battle is something else. 

Apple is currently allowing the mirrored retro gaming console experience on the iPhone via iOS emulators, and not because the European Commission forced it to open its walled garden, as emulators are allowed outside the EU as well.
The latest case in point is the Nintendo retro console emulator Delta that lets you run old games from the beloved console series like Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS titles, as well as NES, SNES, or Nintendo 64 titles. 
For iPhone users in Europe, it can be found as part of the aptly named AltStore alternative to Apple’s official App Store, but it is also available as a standalone emulator.

Some developers who created their own retro emulators, however, complained that Apple has arbitrarily banned their apps from its store. It seems that Apple’s retro emulator policy, as laid out in section 4.7 of the App Review Guidelines doesn’t allow for DOS PC and other Windows OS emulators like iDOS3 or UTM SE.

The iDOS 3 developer said that it took two months for Apple to reject their app, and it couldn’t give him any pointers how to proceed with changes to get it approved, just a boilerplate statement:

Apple, Chaoji Li iDOS 3 developer, June’24

It seems that old games are fine, but the old MS-DOS rivalry still lives since the days of the command prompt. According to the UTM SE developed, the App Sore Review Board told them that “PC is not a console” even though it can be used to emulate old Windows / DOS games that many people know and are still fond of.

Despite that a DOS PC or one running an ancient Windows version is hardly on any iPhone owner’s wishlist, Apple may still come around if pressed with enough antitrust probes like the one the European Commission just launched against its Digital Markets Act non-compliance violations on Monday.


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