Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Calls For Legal Emulation of Old Games on Modern Hardware As Part of an Industry-Wide Effort

Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Calls For Legal Emulation of Old Games on Modern Hardware As Part of an Industry-Wide Effort

Richard Walker

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has called for the games industry to collaborate on providing emulation across the board, in a bid to provide a way to play old games on modern hardware. Spencer's wishes to see a library of legacy titles readily available, comes as Xbox draws a line under its backwards compatibility program, with the addition of 75+ original Xbox and Xbox 360 games.

"I think we can learn from the history of how we got here through the creative," Spencer told Axios (via GameSpot), citing the accessibility of a full library of titles in other media. “I love it in music. I love it in movies and TV, and there's positive reasons for gaming to want to follow. My hope - and I think I have to present it that way as of now - is as an industry we'd work on legal emulation that allowed modern hardware to run any - within reason - older executable allowing someone to play any game."

Video games are unique in that in many cases you have to own the original hardware in order to play older titles, which isn't as much of an issue when it comes to film, TV, and music. "I think in the end, if we said, 'Hey, anybody should be able to buy any game, or own any game and continue to play,' that seems like a great North Star for us as an industry," Spencer added.

With the likes of Max Payne 1-3, TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect, FEAR 1-3, Skate 2, Mortal Kombat 9, Dead or Alive 1-4, Manhunt, Red Dead Revolver, NIER, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Ridge Racer 6, Risen 1 and 2, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II, and Thrillville seeing out backwards compatibility with a bang on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, Spencer's notion of emulation on modern hardware is a hugely welcome one that we can definitely get behind.

Whether it'll actually happen, however, relies upon a concerted effort from Microsoft, Sony, and other major industry players. At present, that seems like something of a pipe dream. In other significant Xbox news this week, Xbox Cloud Gaming is now on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, enabling you to stream games straight to your console; and a six-part Xbox doc is set to premiere in December.

  • Don't get the rubbish that they said about this wave of BC being last because of license issues there's some games they did but others they didn't in some series therefore anything by Xbox pr I just see as bullshit.
  • It would be cool if this could actually happen, but Sony and Nintendo can be so narrow-minded that it'd never fly. Imagine though if Microsoft would be willing to take on some of Nintendo and Sony's older games to make available on modern consoles with Nintendo and Sony being cool with it through some sort of contractual agreement? It'd be a win-win for all parties involved, including the customers.
  • Cool, will we be leading the way on that then? The Xbox remains one of the hardest to emulate consoles out there - current projects are still barely functional with many issues, compared to PS2 which has been done and over with for years.

    Support from the makers would certainly make this goal a reality.
  • i was just thinking about this the other day...if movies/music can live on decade after decade, then why can't games?
    gonna need a host of big players (MS, Sony, Nintendo, Activision, EA, Take Two as well as someone to represent older PC games).
    why let games 'die' if other media doesn't have to? equality now!
  • Then I call on Phil Spencer to release Xbox/360 emulator app on Series X where we can put in any older disc title (-Kinect) and adjust settings to make them run at the game’s best.
  • Guys, it's fine. We got Metal Gear Solid 3 and Max Payne 3 now. We just need to shift the focus to turning the Max Payne 3 servers back on.
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