Phil Spencer hopes to bring its Xbox Backward Compatibility program to the PC.
One of Microsoft’s biggest announcements to come out of its E3 presentation was the reveal that games on the original Xbox will now be part of the Backward Compatibility Program, adding to the large library of Xbox 360 games that can already be played on the Xbox One. Now, it seems like it’s possible those games could one day be playable on the PC as well.
Spencer has hinted at wanting to bring emulation to the PC before, but he’s now expanded on his answer. When PC Gamer asked directly about Backward Compatible Xbox games appearing on the PCC, Spencer gave a one-word answer: “Yes.” Thankfully, he elaborated on this answer a moment later.
“I want people to be able to play games,” Spencer said. “[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 do there, but I think it’s in our future.”
Spencer added that he “definitely” wants to bring Game Pass, the Xbox system’s monthly subscription plan that allows users access to a library of games, to the PC as well.
“The team doesn’t love it when I pre-announce things, but I definitely want to bring Game Pass to PC,” Spencer said. “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.”
So, from the sound of it, we shouldn’t expect to see Xbox games emulated on the PC any time soon. Even if all of Microsoft gets on board, there are a ton of technical challenges to overcome—not to mention third-party licensing issues. Still, if it’s a feature Phil Spencer wants to make a reality, it’s a feature worth keeping an eye on.
Source: PC Gamer