At E3, Microsoft surprised everyone by announcing that it’s bringing original Xbox games to the Xbox One via Backward Compatability. Xbox fans really loved the announcement, as it would allow them to play some of the classic and oldest Xbox games on their new Xbox One consoles which is pretty fantastic. However, some were left wondering whether Microsoft would do the same for Windows 10 PCs. According to Phill Spencer, head of the Xbox team at Microsoft, the answer is yes.
In an interview with PCGamer, Spencer confirmed that original Xbox emulation will make its way to the PC in the future. Spencer mentioned that “emulation is hard” and that the company would have to do a lot of work to be able to bring original Xbox games to the PC:
“I want people to be able to play games! [Emulation] is hard. Xbox 360 specifically is a PowerPC chip, emulated to x86, which is difficult. It’s a little bit easier when you have a fixed spec, when you think about Xbox, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X. And you think of the variable specs of the PC space, so you’re taking a fixed-spec PowerPC emulator and then moving it over to run on PC, so there’s a lot of work there.
The original Xbox, OG Xbox, is a little bit easier, because that was an x86 chip it was running on. Obviously when we think about UWP and the ability for games to run across console and PC, we’re getting closer. I want developers to be able to build portable applications, which is why we’ve been focusing on UWP for games and even apps that want to run on multiple devices.
So I think we’ve got work to go do there, but I think it’s in our future.”
In addition to original Xbox emulation, Microsoft is also planning on bringing the $10 Xbox Game Pass monthly subscription to the PC. Spencer says that the business model of Xbox Game Pass will influence creators to make good content for gamers, but Microsoft says the company doesn’t enough PC games just yet. It would make much sense for Microsoft to bring Xbox Game Pass to the PC once there’s a decent amount of games for Windows 10 PCs available from the Windows Store, so the company is working on getting enough games lined up for PCs:
“I’ve said I want to bring Game Pass to the PC. The team doesn’t love it when I pre-announce things, but I definitely want to bring Game Pass to PC. It’s a business model that I think could be good for creators, and when business models work for creators, it usually means good content will come for gamers. I like that. We don’t have the deep catalog of games on PC that we do on console, so I’ve had some pushback from the marketing team that, well it wouldn’t necessarily be the best feature right now, because we won’t have enough games, but I just want to start. So I’m putting a lot of pressure on the team to go get enough content lined up to do something on the PC, and then make sure we have a long-term commitment to build.”
Xbox Game Pass will probably come earlier than original Xbox emulation to Windows 10 PCs — we just don’t know when that’ll happen. The wait begins.