The Xbox Series X has one of the most open digital marketplaces among major consoles, this openness has allowed indie games to thrive but also surprisingly gives access to emulators.
Not easily, mind you. When the system first came out it was supposedly a lot simpler to download emulators, Xbox cracked down on access to the programs a few months ago. However that’s only true in “Retail Mode”.
Xbox users can actually access “Developer Mode” on their devices, this requires them to make an Xbox Partner Account and pay an Individual fee of $19.00; but for power users this is worth it.
In Developer Mode it’s easier to access apps otherwise unavailable on the normal store, and even upload your own apps. The intention here is probably to allow developers to test their indie games or other software, enabling emulation is just incidental.
But with a small paywall and the inconvenience of swapping modes, it’s little surprise that a dedicated group of gamers found a workaround. But now Xbox is cracking down on those caught using emulators in Retail Mode.
Users who have been banned are reporting they’ve been given a 15-day ban, likely as a warning wherein continued use could result in a much longer punishment. As such members of the emulation community have been spreading the word to remove their Retail Mode emulation apps.
So far, emulators in Developer Mode appear to be unaffected.