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Everyone loves Nintendo… Delta emulator hits 4.4 million downloads in its first week

Since Apple lifted its ban on retro emulators, playing Nintendo games on iOS has never been simpler… Or more free
Everyone loves Nintendo… Delta emulator hits 4.4 million downloads in its first week
  • Retro games emulator Delta has generated 4.4 million downloads on Apple’s App Store since April 18th
  • Delta supports NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and DS games

Delta, the new retro games emulator on iOS has been taking the world by storm this past week, generating 4.4 million downloads on Apple’s App Store in its first week of availability.

According to App Magic data, the US comprises the emulator’s biggest audience with 34% of week-one downloads coming from this territory. China follows with 18% of downloads, while Mexico, the UK and Thailand round out the top five with 8%, 6%, and 4% respectively.

Meanwhile Apple users in the EU can download Delta from the new AltStore - the alternative app store available in those countries without jailbreaking.

In reality, this means that the number of players currently enjoying Delta is potentially already far higher than 4.4 million from Apple's official store. And that’s only in its first week of availability.

Opening the floodgates

Following the introduction of the DMA, allowing the AltStore alternative app store to appear with Delta on board as its prime reason for download, Apple lifted its ban on retro emulators earlier this month meaning that a standalone Delta launch quickly followed. Perhaps predictably an app offering free access to a wealth of Nintendo games has proven a soaring success and the app flew to the top of the Apple App Store’s charts.

Over the past week it’s been giving Nintendo fans much to celebrate - especially following the solemn turn of events that was the Nintendo's own official 3DS online shutdown only one week earlier.

It should be noted of course that Delta doesn’t provide iOS users with ROMs of retro Nintendo games - that would be blatantly illegal - but it has been built specifically with the emulation of Nintendo handhelds and home consoles in mind. This means if fans can find the games, they can now sideload and play the games.

So far, Delta supports titles released on the NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and the original DS. It even has functional multiplayer capabilities, meaning players can battle it out in authentic 90s-style in Pokémon Red and Blue, but with sleek and shiny iPhones replacing Game Boys.

Nintendo’s mobile expansion? (Nintendo not included)

It can't be stressed enough that Delta is in no way affiliated with Nintendo and the Japanese giant will surely be less than impressed with its debut and success on iOS. The company took down Yuzu and Citra - popular Switch and 3DS emulators - only last month after suing their developers, who didn’t provide ROMs either.

Now there are suddenly 4.4 million more people playing Nintendo games for free thanks to the App Store’s change in policy, plus an unknown quantity through the AltStore in the EU thanks to the DMA’s ruling.

The DMA’s forced opening up of iOS in the EU has somewhat simplified sideloading too, making it easier than ever for Apple users to inject these illegal ROMs into Delta - no Altserver (a complex sign-up required to get code into Delta previously) required. All in all, recent policy changes have provided the perfect storm for bringing Nintendo classics back to life, whether the Mario maker approves or not.

It's hard, therefore, to imagine that this is what the EU had in mind when devising the DMA and with Apple now blithely following its rules at Nintendo's expense, the storm surrounding their interpretation of the DMA may well become a hurricane.