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Xbox Head Phil Spencer: ‘Never Say Never’ to Xbox 360 Emulator on PC

Though it would be hard to configure to different hardware, Xbox head Phil Spencer says Xbox 360 on PC is possible. Such an implementation would likely mitigate the issues of current third-party options.


The has been consistently bridging the gap between PC and console via its Xbox Live Anywhere Program. However, with that functionality has come questions of backwards compatibility.

Currently, Xbox One users can play 360 games by either inserting a disk or downloading a new copy. It's a key advantage over the PS4, which only offers PS3 games via a monthly subscription service. But is it possible for the PC?

Xbox head Phil Spencer says yes, with a lot of work. Unlike consoles, PCs have thousands of different hardware combinations, which makes a reliable emulation experience very difficult.

It would definitely fit with 's vision, though, which is switching between console and desktop with ease.

Third-Party Xbox 360 Emulators

Despite these drawbacks, emulation does actually exist in a limited form. Xenia is a work in progress, but can run close to fifty games at full speed on PC. However, as suggested by Spencer, hardware configurations are a problem. Getting games up to a playable framerate takes a lot of work.

There's also the issue of copyright. To play an Xbox game, users need a .iso file of it, which is hard to come by legally. The platform is intended more for research purpose than fully functional emulation.

This leaves a definite gap that Microsoft can fill. The process could be simplified and copyright issues would be non-existent. Unfortunately, it seems quite unlikely that Xbox will be willing to dedicate so many resources. “Never say never”, is a far from a confirmation, and such a development would take a long time anyway.

For now, we'll put our hopes in the latest IPs from Microsoft Studios. Spencer says there will be a new title coming this year, and it's very likely it will be Xbox Play Anywhere. Halo Wars 2, State of Decay 2, and Sea of Thieves will also be coming to PC soon.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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