Microsoft Locks Game Emulation on the Xbox Series X and Series S

    On Thursday, Twitter user @gamr12, who’s involved with the distribution of the RetroArch emulation software on Xbox, posted the error message they received when attempting to launch emulated content.

    The message states that “Unable to launch the game or app” S report running into the same issue.

    S in 2020, users found that they could install and run emulation software. S, including games from the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Wii, and others. This nearly three-year-long run seems to be over.

    S, but only if you put the device in Developer Mode, which you have to pay for. Microsoft seems to have removed the option only when the console is in Retail Mode. All users can use this mode for free if they have some technical knowledge.

    Although it is not yet clear why the change was made, Alyanna, a fan of emulators, claimed she contacted a friend at the Xbox QA about the issue several weeks ago. She said that the reason for the ban was Nintendo.

    Although the message’s source and claims have not been confirmed or verified, it states that “The primary reason for this ban is related to legal problems with Nintendo.”

    Although Microsoft’s rules don’t allow emulations technically, the company has historically looked the other way according Kotaku. Microsoft informs Kotaku that they are constantly improving their mechanisms to review and take enforcement actions on content sent to the Store in order to comply with Microsoft Store Policies. Microsoft states that products that imitate a game system or platform are prohibited from any device family.

    I’m not surprised that Nintendo was the one behind Microsoft’s decision. Nintendo has been a firm believer in emulated games, unless the company can profit from them (see NES/ SNES mini, Nintendo Wii Online game packages). In 2019, Nintendo sued RomUniverse for $1.2 million . Nintendo also pursued Gary Bowser , a Canadian hacker who agreed to pay $10,000,000 in fines. He is currently serving a 40 month sentence.

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