On closed platforms such as Apple’s iOS, developers have to go through a rigorous testing and approval process that – sometimes – takes months. The story is quite similar to the Windows Store – a locked down ecosystem, where only the applications and games that go through the approval and testing process can run.
Today, Microsoft did something that might turn out to be extraordinary for the Xbox One platform – they have approved an emulator built with Microsoft’s new UWP framework for the Windows Store.
Universal Emulator is an emulator built by Nesbox that can emulate any game built for the NES, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and GameBody Advanced/Color platforms.
Being a UWP app means that Universal Emulator can run on any device within the Windows ecosystem – it works on a Windows 10 PC, on a Windows 10 tablet, on a Windows 10 phone, even on HoloLens. In fact, it is theoretically possible to run it on the Xbox One – if Microsoft were to approve it for the Xbox store.
The Nesbox developers have actually tested and applied for approval at the Xbox One store – but it seems to be taking an unusually long time, perhaps because approving Universal Emulator for the Xbox One would be an extremely significant step for Microsoft.
Giving Xbox One the ability to run retro games from a competitor like Nintendo or Sega can become quite troublesome – the legality of emulators themselves is still quite murky and under constant debate.
The emulator is built from the ground up keeping the Windows ecosystem in mind. It even has full support for the Xbox One controller. The new Bluetooth Xbox One S controller can even work with a Windows 10 phone device – and everything simply works.
Microsoft is being forced to make a decision here – either they allow emulators on the Xbox One, or they don’t. Either way, we will know Microsoft’s stance on it soon enough. The emulator is already available to download from the Windows 10 Store.
Update: It seems like Microsoft decided not to fall for it – they have taken down the emulator from the Windows Store, and have asked the developer to re-publish it – except, this time, uncheck that little Xbox One option.
Microsoft says: "Your product was unpublished globally or from specific markets". They want me to remove xbox platform support and republish
— nesbox.com (@nesboxcom) September 10, 2016