TIL the Xbox Series S (and X) Are Great Emulation Machines

I didn’t think that I’d be considering using my new Xbox Series S as an emulation machine.  I always thought that it takes years for hackers to get through system firmware and security measures to allow emulators to be installed.  But, this is 2020.  Anything is possible.

In truth, turning your Xbox Series S (or Xbox Series X) into an emulation machine is relatively simple and seems to be completely safe and reversible.  Every Xbox Series console comes with a “Developer Mode” that can easily be turned on or off, allowing for Retroarch and their dozens of emulation cores to be installed on the console.

For those worrying about filling up the Xbox Series S’s limited memory with retro games, fear not.  Your retro game collection can be stored on a USB stick or external hard drive, freeing up your lightning-quick SSD for Xbox Game Pass.

That is a pretty huge deal, as getting some emulated games to perform well on even average gaming PCs can be a challenge.  The fact that an unmodded Xbox Series S can be quickly switched between being a modern gaming machine to being an emulation dream is a huge win for gamers who occasionally like to get their hit of nostalgia with their legitimately collected roms *cough*.

I first found out about the Xbox Series S’s incredible emulation potential through YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer.  If you have the time, they have an in-depth video diving into the Xbox Series S’s system security, how to easily install Retroarch, and also shows how emulated games perform.  Here’s the video if you want to check it out:

Ars Technica also has a great write-up where they also break down the process, then embed the above video to show the performance.

While I’m not in a tearing rush to install emulators on my Xbox Series S (in part because my gaming PC already does a great job), I’d certainly consider installing a few emulators should my PC give up the ghost.

Would you install emulators on your Xbox Series S or X?  Let us know on Twitter!