10 years in the making, retro game emulator Delta is now No. 1 on the iOS charts

Retro game emulator Delta hits No. 1 on iOS after a small Apple policy change.

: Riley Testut developed Delta, a retro game emulator, achieving a decade-long dream as it reached No. 1 on the iOS charts due to a recent Apple policy change. Delta allows users to play classic games on their iPhones without jailbreaking, gaining 3.8 million downloads in two weeks. Testut and his partner, Shane Gill, leverage this success while promoting a direct developer-to-consumer relationship through their AltStore platform.

Riley Testut's journey began in high school, where he first experimented with software emulation on a TI-84 calculator. His early work evolved into GBA4iOS, a celebrated emulator that let users play Game Boy Advance games on iPhones without jailbreaking. Despite its initial success, Apple's intervention led to its shutdown. Leveraging his experience and a recent shift due to EU regulations, Testut returned with Delta, a refined emulator that quickly soared to the top of the iOS charts. This achievement marked the realization of Testut's decade-long goal to bring retro game emulation into the mainstream on iOS devices.

Testut, together with his business partner and roommate Shane Gill, established AltStore as an alternative platform to the App Store, allowing users to sideload apps onto their iOS devices. This venture was motivated by a desire to circumvent Apple's restrictive policies and foster a more direct relationship between developers and consumers. As a result, they have cultivated a supportive community that contributes through Patreon, enabling them to focus on development without traditional monetization models.

The success of Delta underscores a growing interest in preserving and accessing retro games, highlighting both the limitations and possibilities within Apple's App Store policies. Testut and Gill's efforts not only provide a lifeline for game preservation but also challenge prevailing norms around software distribution and ownership. Their work suggests a future where developers might enjoy greater freedom and direct engagement with their audience, thanks to policy changes and innovative platforms like AltStore.