Xbox boss thinks emulation is the future of retrogaming, here’s why

Phil Spencer, currently CEO of Xbox, believes that the entire video game industry should start emulating retro titles.

In recent years, the preservation of old consoles and the first games has been a topic of choice in the video game industry. Earlier this week, while Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary, Phil Spencer announced the arrival of 70 additional backward compatible games to the console’s catalog. This is part of a larger Xbox and Xbox 360 game preservation program, which ends with these latest additions.

However, the boss of Xbox has not yet said his last word on the fashion of emulating old titles. Indeed, he thinks that this preservation technique should be the standard with all industry players. In an interview with Axios – where he previously spoke of his antipathy for NFTs – he explained:

I hope (and think I need to put it that way right now) that as an industry we will be working on some legal emulation that will allow modern hardware to run any older executable game (within the limit reasonable), thus allowing someone to play in any capacity.

A wish that he hopes to pass on to the other giants in the field, but also to all studios and developers around the world. If video game emulation is still a problem from a copyright point of view, he said a completely legal emulation would be a good way to preserve in an affordable way, both for consumers and for manufacturers, our favorite games.

A solution already in place at Nintendo

Xbox is not the only one to see the future of retrogaming in emulation. Indeed, Nintendo is very careful to preserve its first titles in the same way, especially with its subscription to Nintendo Switch Online. With the basic subscription, players have access to certain NES and SNES games, which they supplement, with Mega Drive and N64 games by purchasing the additional pack.

However, fans were more than disappointed when they discovered the state of emulation of N64 games, especially as the original titles had not been respected. Some graphics were visibly sloppy, a few games crashed for no reason, and others were just plain glitchy.

Are we leaving aside the hardware part?

In addition, emulation encounters a major problem: that of the hardware. Transposing old titles on new generation consoles is good, but it leaves out the old consoles which are just as important in the preservation of cultural goods. Unfortunately, it also has to do with a matter of money and funding, which big companies are not ready to give away in memory of the past.

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