Why DolphiniOS’s Wii and GameCube emulator isn’t coming to the App Store


Apple won’t allow DolphiniOS to use the Just-in-Time compiler, which improves the performance of games.

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DolphiniOS, a fork of the popular Dolphin emulator for Nintendo Wii and GameCube games, has confirmed that it’s not coming to the Apple App Store even though emulators are now supported. In a post on Friday, the developer behind the emulator says it’s because Apple doesn’t allow DolphiniOS to use its underlying performance-boosting tech.

As explained by developer OatmealDome, DolphiniOS — along with other Wii and GameCube emulators — uses something called Just-in-Time (JIT). This is a compiler that “translates” the GameCube and Wii’s PowerPC-based code into a language other devices can understand, making emulations run a lot smoother.

But Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to use JIT compilers, as noted by OatmealDome. “The only exceptions are Safari and alternative web browsers in Europe,” the developer writes. “We submitted a DMA [Digital Markets Act] interoperability request to Apple for JIT support, but Apple denied the request a few weeks ago.”

Although there’s a way to get around JIT by using an “interpreter,” OatmealDome writes that it’s “many times slower than the JIT compiler.” A pair of videos shared by OatmealDome shows just how poorly a Mario Kart Wii emulation performs on an iPhone 15 when using an interpreter instead of JIT. The Verge reached out to Apple with a request for more information about its rules surrounding JIT but didn’t immediately hear back.

Since Apple loosened its policies on retro game emulators earlier this month, we’ve already seen the game emulator Delta shoot to the top of the App Store charts. There will likely be much more to come — provided they don’t get removed first.

This post was originally published on The Verge

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