Microsoft bans emulator apps from the Windows Store


There are a large number of emulators out there, including a wide range of Xbox and PlayStation emulators. These give gamers the opportunity to play their favorite console games on their PC, but Microsoft has now formally banned such software from the Windows Store.

Emulators have long been the subject of legal wranglings because of concerns about copyright and intellectual property infringements, and now the Windows-maker has put its foot down. The developers of NES emulator NESBox are among those affected by the ban, and point to a recent change in Microsoft’s rules for the Window Store — affecting not only Windows 10, but also Xbox One users.

As noted by Ars Technica, NESBox developers have pointed out a single line that was added to the Windows Store rules: “Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family.” The developer of Universal Emulator was also notified of the change when its own app was removed from the store.

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This will come as bad news for people looking to run games from other platforms on their Xbox One, or hoping for an app to run console games on their PC. Of course, it does not completely block this from happening, but it does mean that anyone hoping to install an emulator will have to side-load such an app after acquiring it from unofficial sources.

Interestingly, the ban only extends to the emulation of game systems — a term that will cover not only consoles, but also arcade emulators such as MAME. Technically it does not ban emulators of other systems, so a macOS emulator would not — at the moment, at least — be a violation of the rules.

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