Microsoft has taken action to close a loophole in the Xbox Store that allowed the use of emulators on Xbox consoles.
Enabling gamers to play older games that were not otherwise available. Although rumors are circulating about the reason behind the sudden change, Microsoft has attributed it to a well-established policy within the official store. Users and creators of emulators noticed the change earlier this week, as they were no longer able to access emulators on the Xbox Store through direct links on the Edge browser. Even if the emulator was previously downloaded, popular options like Xenia would not launch, and users would receive an error message.
The community of emulator users has expressed discontent and anger in response to the ban, particularly those who advocate for legal emulation to play games they already own on older Xbox consoles that are not available on current hardware. However, there are a plethora of games available via emulators that were either sold on Xbox’s store or never released on Xbox at all, including Wii and GameCube games. It’s worth noting that emulation on Xbox consoles is still feasible in developer mode, which comes with a $20 (₱ 1,089.80) cost.
According to Microsoft Azure’s Alyanna McKenna, an email purportedly authored by the Xbox QA Team has surfaced and gained public attention. The contents of the email are as follows:
Thanks for getting in touch with us about the recent ban on emulators on the Xbox store front. We appreciate your interest and concerns.
To answer your questions, the primary reason for the ban is related to legal issues with Nintendo. While emulating itself is not illegal, it can be used to play games from consoles that are still under copyright protection without permission, which can create issues with Nintendo and its affiliates.
Additionally, we take security seriously, and some emulators require permissions beyond what is typical for an app. This could create a potential security risk, as these permissions can be exploited by bad actors to gain access to sensitive information. For these reasons, we have made the decision to ban emulators on the Xbox store front.
However, we understand that many users have dev mode enabled to run legal emulation. We don’t seek to remove this ability, as it doesn’t grant access to the retail components of the system and is considered safe. Unlike retail emulators, dev mode is limited to certain functionalities and doesn’t have system read-write functionality.
That said, we are still exploring ways to allow safe and legal emulation on Xbox. We are in talks with legitimate emulator developers to bring their software onto our platform while ensuring that all copyright laws and security protocols are followed.
We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work through this issue. Our goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable gaming experience for everyone, and we are committed to finding a solution that meets those goals.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us.