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Apple Revises App Store Policies for Global Emulator and Streaming Game App Inclusion

Apple Revises App Store Policies for Global Emulator and Streaming Game App Inclusion

In a landmark update, Apple has significantly revised its App Store guidelines to include retro game emulators and streaming game services globally. This shift marks a departure from Apple’s historically stringent policies, aiming to enhance the gaming experience on iOS devices while complying with new EU regulations.

Apple’s announcement reveals an overarching strategy to adapt to the evolving digital marketplace, especially in light of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA aims to ensure fair competition and innovation in the digital sector, prompting Apple to introduce over 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, and functionalities for alternative browser engines. Developers now have more flexibility in processing app payments and distributing iOS apps, coupled with new safeguards to mitigate privacy and security risks associated with these changes. These updates not only comply with the DMA but also strive to protect EU users from potential threats, highlighting Apple’s commitment to user security despite the regulatory compliance​.

Furthermore, Apple’s policy revision globally permits developers to submit single apps capable of streaming an entire catalog of games, a stark contrast to the previous requirement where each game needed its own App Store page. This move is seen as a strategic effort to encourage gaming companies to utilize Apple’s App Store for their streaming services, thereby integrating Apple’s in-app purchase system. This could significantly impact game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, which was previously accessible only via the iOS Safari web browser. Now, companies such as Microsoft and Nvidia can launch native apps for their cloud gaming services on the App Store, potentially enhancing user experience with improved responsiveness and controls​.

Apple is also extending these changes to encompass mini-games, mini-apps, chatbots, and plug-ins, allowing them to incorporate Apple’s in-app purchase system. Each in-app experience, however, must still adhere to Apple’s stringent App Store Review Guidelines. This initiative not only broadens the scope for developers but also aims to safeguard Apple’s revenue streams in the face of growing AI integration and the potential for users to engage with paid or subscription-based services within larger apps​.

These policy updates represent a significant shift in Apple’s approach to app regulation, balancing the need for security and privacy with the demands for greater flexibility and innovation in the app market. As this new policy rolls out, it will be interesting to see how developers and companies leverage these changes to deliver enhanced gaming experiences to users worldwide.


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