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Apple rejects PC emulators on the iOS App Store

Apple rejects PC emulators on the iOS App StoreDoom was ported from open source codenot executed via a classic PC emulator.”/>

Enlarge / Don’t be under any illusions: this iOS version of Loss was ported from open source code and not run through a typical PC emulator.

Earlier this year, Apple began officially allowing “retro game emulators” in the iOS App Store without the need for a jailbreak or tedious sideloading. But if you want to emulate retro PC games on your iOS device, you’re apparently still out of luck.

In a recent blog update, iDOS developer Chaoji Li said that the latest version of the DOSBox-based MS-DOS emulator was finally rejected from the iOS App Store this month after a long two-month review process:

They decided that iDOS is not a retro gaming console, so the new rule is not applicable. They suggested I make changes and resubmit for review, but when I asked what changes I needed to make to be compliant, they had no idea, nor when I asked what was a retro gaming console. It’s always the same old unreasonable “we know it when we see it” response.

The developer of the iOS app Virtual Machine UTM shared a similar story of App Store rejection on social media. The reported two-month review process for the UTM app ended with “the App Store review board determining that ‘PC is not a console,’ regardless of whether it exists “Retro Windows/DOS games for the PC that UTM SE can be useful to run,” the developer said.

The April revision to Rule 4.7 of Apple’s App Review Guidelines is worded very specifically so that “retro game console Emulation applications may offer to download games (emphasis added). ” Emulation of a more generalized PC operating system does not fall under the letter of this policy, even for users interested in emulating retro PC games using these applications.

Since this narrow exception doesn’t apply to regular PC emulators, they end up violating Apple’s Rule 2.5.2, which states that iOS apps cannot “download, install, or run code that introduces or modifies features or functionalities of the application”. , including other apps.” This rule also applies to third-party iOS App Stores that have recently been authorized under new European Union rules, meaning that even so-called “app markets “alternatives” do not offer a useful alternative in this case.

What is the difference?

While the specific language in Apple’s app review guidelines is clear enough, the reasoning behind the distinction here is a bit more mystifying. Why does Apple treat the idea of ​​a DOSBox-style emulator running an old copy of Microsoft Excel differently than the idea of ​​Delta running a copy of NES Tetris on the same device? Is loading the Windows 95 version of KidPix Studio Deluxe on your iPhone really any different than playing an emulated copy of Mario painting on this same iPhone?

Maintenant que je peux émuler <em>Mario Paint</em> on iOS, why would I buy Photoshop?” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/mariopaint-640×498.jpg” width=”640″ height=”498″ srcset =”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/mariopaint.jpg 2x”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Now that I can imitate Mario painting on iOS, why would I buy Photoshop?

A virtual machine or emulator running a modern PC operating system under iOS could theoretically provide some mainstream competition to the apps Apple offers in its official App Store. But there is surely a limit to what this applies when we talk about emulation older IT environments and deceased Operating systems. Just as Apple’s iOS game emulation rules apply only to “retro” game consoles, a rule for PC emulation could easily be limited to “retro” operating systems (e.g., those that are no longer officially supported by their original developers, as a rule).

Alas, iOS users and app makers are currently forced to live with this distinction, with no difference when it comes to emulating PC games on iOS. Those looking for a workaround could potentially use an iOS Remote Desktop app to access games running on a physical desktop computer they actually own. The Internet Archive’s collection of thousands of MS-DOS games will also work in an iOS web browser, though you may have to struggle a bit to get the controls and audio to work properly.

News Source : arstechnica.com
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