PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, SEGA Genesis, Atari 2600, and others.

Provenance Emulator
Apple has so far approved emulators on the App Store for older Nintendo consoles and the Commodore 64. For example, Riley Testut's popular Delta emulator is now in the App Store in many countries, and it can emulate games released for the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo 64, and Nintendo DS. Provenance would bring the first Sony, SEGA, and Atari emulators to the App Store if approved.

Provenance has been in development since 2016, and it can already be sideloaded on the iPhone and the Apple TV outside of the App Store.

Apple updated its App Review Guidelines earlier this month to allow "retro game console emulator apps" on the App Store for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other devices. Earlier this week, Apple told us that emulators that can load games (ROMs) are permitted on the App Store, so long as the apps are emulating "retro console games" only.

While a U.S. court ruled that emulators are legal, downloading copyrighted ROMs is typically against the law in the country. On its customer support website for the U.S., Nintendo says that downloading pirated copies of its games is illegal. A wide collection of public-domain "homebrew" games are available to play legally.

Update: GameCube and Wii emulation might not be coming to the iPhone, and our article has been revised to reflect this.

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Top Rated Comments

mdnz Avatar
5 weeks ago
Apple might as well stop with Apple Arcade, this stuff is going to blow it out of the water as a free app. No wonder they wanted to block emulators for so long.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
5 weeks ago
Hopefully they will stick to the AppStore even in Europe, and don’t make us install a third party AppStore just for an emulator, like Delta dev did.

EDIT: actually I’m gonna reach the developer to ask him to please release the emulator on the AppStore here in Europe.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baron Thompson Avatar
5 weeks ago
Commodore on the big screen Apple tv. This is sick!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Todd Fisher Avatar
5 weeks ago
I get the excitement of seeing ROM emulators hitting the Apple TV (Finally!). What I don't get is why don't these game companies just start putting the games up themselves, for $0.99 each. I'd buy a gazillion of the games that I grew up with, and I don't even play games today. This is such a no brainer to me... it's such low hanging fruit.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertsix Avatar
5 weeks ago
We've come full circle...

Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blackstick Avatar
5 weeks ago

Wonder how long it will take for the game companies to sue users.
Barring 1st party franchises, sooooo many of these ancient games were made by studios that don't exist any more -- or they've been acquired by larger studios, who were then acquired by another, and another, and then another. A one-off Gameboy title that was released in 1989 by some tiny little studio? Not exactly Tears of the Kingdom...

Some of these games, the trail has gone cold. There's nobody around who even remembers working on them, let alone can prove a legal or ownership interest. Some of the ROM files have dates of 1996 on them. They've been sitting around as a 20 kilobyte file for almost 30 years.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)