App Store guidelines now allow game emulators; more

After the EU commission fined Apple $2 billion and announced that it’s not satisfied with the changes the company made to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple on Friday updated the App Store guidelines again. This time, the company is making it easier for music streaming apps to redirect users to an external website in the EU. And for the first time, Apple will allow game emulators on its platforms.

Music streaming apps can now take users to a website

Apple has confirmed the introduction of new “Music Streaming Services Entitlements” for apps distributed in the European Union with the latest update to its App Review Guidelines, which are available on the Apple Developer website. According to the company, music streaming apps “in specific regions” can now include a link (such as a “buy” button) to an external website.

With the special entitlement, music streaming apps can also invite users to provide their email address to receive a link to buy digital music or services via the developer’s website.

This specific change comes after Apple was fined by the EU commission for abusing its market position and setting anti-competitive rules in the App Store against Apple Music competitors, which is known as “anti-steering” measures. Again, Apple makes it clear that the new guideline only applies to apps distributed in the EU.

Spotify vs Apple music

App Store guidelines now allows game emulators

But there’s another important update to the App Store guidelines, and this one applies worldwide. For the first time, Apple is allowing developers to create and distribute game emulators on the App Store. The news was confirmed by Apple in an email sent to developers.

Since the very first iPhone, developers have been finding ways to distribute game emulators to iOS users. The App Store guidelines have never allowed emulator software, but some apps have had luck bypassing Apple’s review process by disguising their apps and hiding emulators within them. But that’s changing now with the App Store’s new guidelines.

The section on mini apps and game streaming has now been updated to include game emulators. “Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games,” Apple says. However, there’s a catch.

Apple warns that developers are “responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.” This raises the question of whether anyone can release a game emulator or only the companies that own the rights to the games distributed for it.

9to5Mac’s take

Although Apple is appealing the latest EU rulings, it’s clear that the company fears another expensive fine. And given that the EU commission is still unsatisfied with the App Store changes, we can assume that there’s a lot more to come.

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