Xbox locks Nintendo emulation behind a $2 paywall

Xbox locks Nintendo emulation behind a $2 paywall
Microsoft | Nintendo

Written by 

Tom Chapman


19th Jul 2023 12:45

When we first booted up the Xbox Series X|S, there was an unexpected perk of Microsoft's new-gen console. There are plenty of benefits of the PlayStation 5, but the Xbox Series packs the surprise punch of emulation - making the retro depths of the video game world your oyster.

We previously covered how adding emulation to Xbox means we can play a smorgasbord of Nintendo GameCube games before Nintendo fans can on the Switch. Seeing the potential in the idea, Microsoft quickly shut down these capabilities. They're now back...but it'll cost you.

Microsoft locks emulation being a $2 fee

We'll admit it isn't much to pay to access hundreds of thousands of games, but still, there's a sting that the previously free Xbox emulation fees are now being locked behind a $2 paywall. In April, it was reported that you could only emulate games if you put your console in Developer Mode instead of Retail, which you (obviously) had to pay for.

With some wizardry, you can bypass Microsoft's emulator restrictions, but even that comes with a price tag. As pointed out by Modern Vintage Gamer, UWeaPons Store has figured out how to get emulators back in Retail Mode. You can access the Patreon for $2 and learn the secret, with Modern Vintage Gamer confirming it works. 

Although Modern Vintage Gamer still prefers the Developer Mode workaround, the fact UWeaPons Store has worked on the likes of the lauded Dolphin Emulator should have you checking this one out. After all, who doesn't want to play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on Xbox? 

Why did Xbox block emulators?

The Simpsons Hit & Run
Click to enlarge
Radical Entertainment

Modern Vintage Gamer speculates that the Xenia emulator "flew a little close to the Sun," and likely led to Microsoft blocking Universal Windows Platform (UWP) emulators. As it's known for its Xbox 360 games, it's encroaching on the territory of Game Pass and Xbox's backwards compatibility. 

The new method is effectively the same as the old way of getting your Xbox verified for UWPs on Retail Mode, but by paying the $2 a month Patreon fee, the group does it all for you. The exact methods are currently locked up tight, presumably because Microsoft would block it if it got into the open.

For now, you can stump up the $2 a month or wait until the method is leaked online and use it until Microsoft comes down hard. Either way, Nintendo will try and extinguish these emulators with a flamethrower. If we can't have the GameCube version of The Simpsons: Hit & Run on Switch, why should you have it on Xbox?

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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