Microsoft Nixes Emulator Use For Xbox Series X/S, And Gamers Are Mad - Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)

Microsoft MSFT made the decision Thursday to disable classic game emulation on the Xbox Series X/S, a move that has sparked a passionate response from the retro gaming community.

What Happened: The Xbox Series X/S has set itself apart from its competitors by allowing users to easily emulate older games. Upon its launch in 2020, users quickly discovered they could install emulators capable of playing classic Sony‘s SONY PlayStation 2 and Nintendo‘s NTDOY GameCube games on the console.

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Microsoft has now restricted access to this feature in standard retail mode, limiting it only to paid access to the console’s developer mode. This move has effectively locked out users from downloading and running emulators for dozens of old consoles, with an error code citing a violation of Microsoft Store policy.

Gamers React: This news has sent shockwaves through the retro gaming community, particularly archivists and preservationists who relied on the console as a means of preserving classic games.

For example, John Linneman, a retro game enthusiast, tweeted: “I’m pretty angry about it, to be honest. This was one of the system’s best features even if unofficial.”

And added: “Not just emulators either but tons of homebrew. This is how I most used the system and now it’s just gone. Really frustrated right now.”

Activision Or Nintendo Behind Microsoft’s Decision? The timing of the decision has raised eyebrows, leading some to speculate it could be related to the ongoing dispute between Sony and Microsoft over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard ATVI.

Nevertheless, an email allegedly from an unnamed Microsoft employee on the Xbox Quality Assurance team sheds some light on the issue. According to the email and reports from Esentially Sports, the decision to block emulators was primarily due to legal issues with Nintendo, one of the companies with which Microsoft recently made a 10-year Call of Duty deal

“The primary reason for the ban is related to legal issues with Nintendo,” the email reportedly says. Nintendo owns the copyright on some of the games being played on Xbox through emulators, so the company could file for copyright infringement claims against Microsoft.

Moreover, the email also mentioned a potential security risk as a factor in the decision. Many players save their banking information on their Xbox for purchases, and third-party emulators could gain access to this sensitive data, potentially leading to exploitation and data breaches.

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Photo by Billy Freeman on Unsplash.

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