Microsoft Makes One of the Best Xbox Series X Features Worse

Microsoft is changing one of the best Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S features, and a big reason to pick up one of the current-gen Xbox consoles over PlayStation 5. There’s a variety of reasons to spend your time this generation on Xbox, such as Xbox Game Pass, its growing offering of excusives, and because it’s been a great machine for emulation, well until now. Microsoft is cracking down on emulation on the pair of Xbox Series consoles.

As you may know, there’s a loophole in the Xbox Store that allows anyone, very easily, to download and use either Xbox console to play older games not available on the consoles normally. This has been an open secret for a while, despite going against the rules of the digital storefront. And it was achieved via emulators like Duckstation, Xenia, and Dolphin, none of which were available on the actual storefront, but were accessible via a workaround. These loopholes and workarounds have been closed though. Now when you try to launch a game through these emulators, you get the following message: “this game or app can’t be launched as it violates the Microsoft Store Policy.”

Thankfully, for those really dedicated to emulation and playing older games on their new Xbox consoles, you can stll emulate games on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S by putting the console into developer mode. This cost $20 though. In other words, those that have been emulating games on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S for free via retail mode are no longer able to do this. Those who have been doing via developer mode are fine, for now.

When all of this news first broke, there were theories and speculation that this was the result of Nintendo putting pressure on Xbox to put an end to all of this. However, Xbox has refuted this in a statement given to IGN.

“The information currently circulating on Twitter is not accurate,” said Xbox. “Our actions are based on a long-standing policy on content distributed to the Store to ensure alignment with our Microsoft Store Polices. Per 10.13.10, Products that emulate a game system or game platform are not allowed on any device family.”

It remans to be seen what’s next for emulation on Xbox consoles. There still remains a way for those who are interested, but it’s now behind a paywall, and there’s always a chance Microsoft will crack down it in the future.