Don’t Expect PC Emulation On iPhone Any Time Soon

Emulators on the iPhone

Over the past few months, the iPhone has been transformed thanks to the relaxing of Apple’s rules on emulation and the arrival of some of the best emulators on the official app store. Gone are the days when we had to jailbreak our iPhones to play N64 mods or PSP games; with the likes of Delta and PPSSPP, we can game easily without having to mess around or void our phone warranty.

But not all of the classic games of yesteryear are being allowed access to our phones, however. There’s a distinct lack of PC emulators, programs covering some of our favourite games from our childhoods being told they won’t be allowed on the App Store due to them not adhering to the current guidelines.

The main reason behind this is that emulators for consoles such as the NES and the PSP just emulate those consoles and nothing more, whereas an emulator that plays early Windows games would have to also emulate Windows software, and that’s something that Tim Cook and the gang simply won’t allow.

So here’s where we’re at – Apple has made peace with console emulators and allowed them to stay, but emulation of retro PC games is not allowed. I’ve read a lot of comments from people and other articles saying that this is probably an illegal move on Apple’s part that might come back to haunt them, something that EU legislators have probably added to their ‘to-do list’.

Ok, but what about the Amstrad CPC, or the C64? Both of these are available to use on RetroArch with cores ready and waiting. Well, the C64 has its own emulator which passed Apple’s test, and that seems to be down to the fact that its software isn’t as advanced as Windows in the sense that it doesn’t have an operating system that could interfere with Apple’s own OS and for the fact that it simply plays C64 games and nothing else. Disallowed emulators like iDOS 3 emulate an operating system which in turn plays games specifically designed for it, not just games themselves. And for now, that’s simply just not allowed.

I am preempting pressure coming from the EU that will change this at some point further down the line, however, as the whole thing feels a little like a reluctance to bring anything Microsoft-related onto iOS system. It seems more like a flat refusal because it’s from a historical direct competitor than anything else, and I don’t think the EU will care too much about that. Time will tell, and I’ll be here to give you all the details if or when the rules on PC emulation on iPhone change.

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