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Xbox Gets New Updates; Can Also Run PS2 Games(?)

Xbox just announced a bunch of rad features recently for its late November/December update. This includes:

  • the “optimized for series X|S” badges so that you can identify which games are enhanced for the next-gen console
  • Dynamic Background options
  • Auto HDR indicator with supported games on Xbox Series X|S
  • Pre-load games with the new “Coming Soon” section so they are able to play upcoming titles the day it becomes available
  • Check achievement status in the Game Activity tab

That’s all well and good, so let’s jump to our next topic of this piece: the fact that Xbox’s next-gen games can run PS2 titles when the PS5 cannot. And doing a damn good job at it too. What sorcery is this?

For context, the Xbox One featured a developer mode from the previous generation, so it’s only natural that the Xbox Series X and S retain that feature. This means budding programmers and developers can open up the machine’s debug kit to run developer-tailored programs like Universe Windows Protocol (UWP) apps. Anything that runs on Windows 10 will work on Windows 10 Mobile and on Xbox.

Guess what else is a UWP program? RetroArch, the most famous front end for various emulators for retro consoles like the NES, Megadrive, and the PlayStation 2. The video below from Modern Vintage Gamer has put out a video displaying the RetroArch playing PS2 classics like God of War, Metal Gear Rising 2, and God Hand.

There are some catches since this technique is a workaround; the console cannot use its full power while in dev mode and the size of the games on some platforms is limited. Still, this is great emulation performance and a good sign that Xbox Series X and S’ backwards compatibility going beyond just its Xbox titles.

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