RetroArch makes emulation viable on the Xbox Series S and Series X thanks to Developer Mode

RetroArch makes emulation viable on the Xbox Series S and Series X thanks to Developer Mode

One of the best things about Android is that it offers plenty of freedom when it comes to emulating retro games and titles designed for consoles. The story is a bit different on actual consoles, as very few vendors officially permit sideloading homebrew apps such as emulators on their platforms. As it turns out, you can easily transform your Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X into a retro gaming station by installing RetroArch via Developer Mode.

Microsoft doesn’t allow game emulators in its Store, but they do offer an official method to turn on “Developer Mode” on current-gen Xbox consoles, including the Xbox Series S and Series X. And for those not familiar with RetroArch, it itself is a frontend using the libretro platform that can use different “cores” to emulate a number of legacy consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii, GameCube, Dreamcast, PlayStation Portable, and many more. The developers of RetroArch, Libretro, officially support the original Xbox One, which makes it almost too easy to run the emulator(s) on it — no jailbreaking required. And now, a recent video shared by Modern Vintage Gamer on YouTube (via MSPowerUser) confirms that RetroArch can be sideloaded on the Xbox Series S as well!

As you can see, the budget Xbox One S offers fantastic emulation performance on classic titles like Tekken 3 (PlayStation 1), GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64), Super Mario Galaxy (Wii), and many others. This is no doubt the best way to relive your childhood gaming moments on the big screen.

The usual caveats with using emulators still apply, though. You do have to pay at least $19 for a Microsoft Developer account. In Developer Mode, you can develop software for the console and sideload them, but you cannot play retail games or run retail apps. You will also have to factory reset your console if you ever want to completely get out of Developer Mode. Nevertheless, none of the major mainstream consoles have something similar, making the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X a one-stop emulation machine.

About author

Skanda Hazarika
Skanda Hazarika

DIY enthusiast (i.e. salvager of old PC parts). An avid user of Android since the Eclair days, Skanda also likes to follow the recent development trends in the world of single-board computing.