PlayStation emulator Provenance now available for Apple TV users in beta — and its next major update will support a classic Sony handheld

Provenance emulator on Apple TV with a Siri Remote showing
(Image credit: Future)

A multi-system emulator that’s in development for iPhone and iPad is now available to Apple TV users as a beta.

In a Patreon post, developer Joe Matiello confirmed that new and existing beta users can use Provenance on an Apple TV by downloading it from Apple’s TestFlight app, the company’s method of letting developers release apps for testing for a small pool of users. But that’s not all — Matiello has since confirmed that the PlayStation Portable, Sony’s first gaming handheld that launched in 2004, is coming to the app in a future update.

Provenance emulates a whole bunch of classic consoles and handhelds, such as Sony PlayStation, SEGA Saturn, Nintendo Virtual Boy, and more. You can also use features such as taking screenshots and being able to save your progress at any time. Placing games in the app is currently a challenge, as you need to transfer files through a protocol called FTP. This means you need to have a separate device nearby that has an FTP app installed, like Filezilla. Once connected to an IP address that houses the games you want to play, you can transfer some games over to Provenance on Apple TV. The team helping Matiello has told iMore that they will be improving this process soon.

Matiello hasn’t given a date yet for when the emulator will be made available on the App Store past TestFlight access. Matiello has stated he wants Provenance to be in a good, bug-free shape before he sends it to the App Review team for submission. But if you want to try the app right now, you can sign up to its Patreon and use the available TestFlight link.

Provenance could be Apple TV’s killer app — iMore’s take

I’ve been using Provenance on my iPhone, iPad, and now Apple TV this past week and I’ve come away impressed — though the method required to transfer games into the app is not for the faint-hearted.

Using an FTP app like Filezilla is a convoluted process, as you need to make sure that you’ve got the right IP address through its complicated user interface, as well as having your Apple TV and another device connected to the same network.

Once I managed to get past my FTP woes, I was playing a bunch of homebrew games on my Apple TV with ease. PlayStation 1 has some great games you can download right now, such as Hover Racing and Psychic Duel. Using my 8BitDo controller made the experience even better — it felt like I was back in my bedroom from the mid-90s, using my now-broken Sony PlayStation console.

Provenance could be the killer app for Apple TV. Playing games that work within the confines of these retro systems from long ago could appeal to so many. Delta, another multi-system emulator that launched in April for iPhone is a great example of this. The app has a great user interface as well as an easy method to add in new games — you simply tap the + icon, search for your games through Apple’s Files app, select what you want to play in Delta, and that’s it. It's been a constant presence at the top of the App Store download charts since launching, showing the audience for this sort of app is very real.

Retro emulators like Provenance give that warm blanket feeling of nostalgia — being able to play games that don’t need patches, or offer lots of paid DLC (Downloadable Content) like we have to wrestle against with modern titles. If its developer can look into making the onboarding process easier when transferring games over, Provenance could be the best Apple TV app in recent years.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.