One of the Best Emulator Front-Ends May Be Coming to Xbox One, With No Jailbreak Required

An Xbox One.
Photo: Mat Hayward (Getty Images)

The developers of RetroArch, an all-in-one emulation front-end that allows users to download emulator “cores” for a huge number of older consoles and which recently came to the Nintendo Switch, say it is coming to the Xbox One—and unlike other consoles, users might not need to risk jailbreaking their systems to set it up.

The Libretro team tweeted on Friday that RetroArch will be available for the Xbox One by “early 2019,” though it will not be officially released on the Microsoft Store due to policies rolled out in 2017 banning any “Apps that emulate a game system.” However, they added that users should be able to load and run RetroArch on Xbox One by enabling developer mode, which requires a $19 Dev Center account and comes with some caveats (such as having to perform a factory reset on the console to remove it).

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According to a video posted by the Libretro team, work is progressing even faster than anticipated—though in a follow-up tweet, they warned that a PC remains the best choice for emulating older 3D games.

When Microsoft rolled out the ban on emulators last year, software like the NESbox Universal Emulator (supporting NES, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, and Sega Genesis games) got the boot from its store. In 2016, a similar situation occurred with a Nintendo 64 emulator called Win64e10 that briefly became available as a $10 app for the Xbox One before it was removed. However, the Developer Mode workaround already allows for users to install several emulators (including NESbox) at the cost of some added time and effort.

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RetroArch was recently also in the news for introducing a new experimental lag fix mode that makes games respond to input faster than on the original consoles. An SNES Classic running RetroArch also reportedly ran original PlayStation games faster than Sony’s own official emulator.

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Tom McKay

"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post