iPhone App Store competitor launches with a Nintendo 64 emulator

The first third-party Apple iOS app store is now live in the European Union, following the introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) which has forced Apple and other platforms to open up their software marketplaces.

AltStore PAL is an open-sourced, crowd-funded app store that has been made specifically for independent developers.

The creator, a University of Southern California student named Riley Testut, says AltStore addresses “the problems” that he and “so many others have had with the App Store over the years.”

In a blog post published on April 17, Testut says AltStore PAL will be starting with two apps, one of which is an emulator serving old Nintendo platforms like the Super Nintendo, and even its rival, the Sega Genesis.

Europe’s coolest alternative app marketplace is HERE!

Introducing AltStore PAL — an Apple-approved version of AltStore exclusive to the EU

Download now from our website for just €1.50/year (+ VAT) 🇪🇺 https://t.co/3ZfYbq4QNU pic.twitter.com/D5cbkWhi7l

— AltStore.io (@altstoreio) April 17, 2024

“My all-in-one Nintendo emulator Delta – a.k.a the reason I built AltStore in the first place – and my clipboard manager Clip, a real clipboard manager that can actually run in the background.

“Delta will be free (with no ads!), whereas Clip will require a small donation of €1 or more.”

With Delta, gamers can relive the experience of playing several Nintendo consoles all over again, including SNES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, and more.

AltStore makes it onto iOS — at a cost

Once the two apps have been checked through to ensure they’re running smoothly, AltStore will then be opening the doors to more third-party apps.

Testut says launch day “is a day I’ve been looking forward to for over 10 years.”

This is all due to the Digital Markets Act, passed into law in September of 2022 by the European Commission. The law was made to ensure that “gatekeepers” — platform holders like Apple who control a single online marketplace — still behave in a fair way and leave room for third-party competition.

Although Apple is now forced to allow third parties to inter-operate within its own services, they’ve introduced a “Core Technology Fee” for developers operating under the new business terms for EU apps. This fee is €0.50 for each app download. To meet that obligation, AltStore PAL will charge its users €1.50 per year.

“This obviously isn’t ideal, but our priority is making sure we run AltStore sustainably so that developers can confidently distribute their apps with us,” Testut wrote, “and this ensures we can pay Apple’s CTF no matter how many users we get.”

Featured Image: Via Riley Testut Blog

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Sophie Atkinson