Legal problems preventing

License agreements can destroy the dream of full console compatibility. Now, however, Xbox president Phil Spencer is urging the industry to accept legal simulation as a way to preserve the legacy and availability of more legacy games.

“My hope (and I guess I should put it that way) is to work as an industry in legal simulation that allows modern devices to run any old (logical) application.” Spencer said in a recent interview with Axios, “I think eventually, if We said, "Hey, everyone should be able to buy every toy, or own every toy, and let everyone play." "Keep playing," he said. Be a star for us as an industry.

This is a great goal and an important statement for a great console manager in the future. But in the real world, there is a legal tradition of older games with some licensing issues a practice that makes it difficult to achieve the ideal of 'playing all...the oldest Spencer.

Case of Legal Emulation

READ MORE, Nintendo NES Emulator in Classic GameCube Despite Spencer's inclusion, Sony and Nintendo have not completely ignored official legal emulation options in Their hardware, even before the creation of the Wii virtual console, which embodied the core concept of legal simulation. Launched in 2006, the simulators were used to recreate classic games. Classic hardware (licensed by the open source emulation community). A set available Only a small subset of N64 games on Switch via online subscription. Zoom / Only a small subset of N64 games are available through online subscription on Switch.

On modern consoles, often What both Sony and Nintendo limited the "official" options for older games with their various subscription service packages: Nintendo with its growing Switch Online collection, and Sony with its massive streaming library.Download PlayStation Now cloud.

This is an approach Unlike Microsoft, it uses an emulation layer to allow many older Xbox and Xbox 360 discs to be played on newer hardware.Microsoft also sells digital versions of some decades-old games separately and/or makes them available through a Game Pass subscription, including some Improvements such as HDR and increased frame rates on Xbox One and Series S./X.


Permissions and Legal Restrictions

Spencer's statement encouraging "legal emulation" options was released the same week In which Microsoft announced that 70 major Xbox and Xbox 360 games can now be played on for the following Xbox devices. But in addition to the announcement, Microsoft also said, "We've reached the limit of our ability to bring new games into the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal, and technical limitations."

This means that Xbox users do. Officially only you can play over 600 of the more than 2,000 Xbox 360 games on current devices and only 63 of the nearly 1,000 original Xbox games. Although this percentage includes some of the best-selling and best-selling games of these classic consoles, this list is low compared to the large selection of playable games compatible with unofficial emulators.

This is due to factor limitations. In most cases, it is not about technology, but rather about legal issues. "Some of the challenges are technical, but most are licensing," Jason Ronald, director of Xbox Program Management, told Inverse last year about why most old Xbox games aren't compatible with new Xbox hardware. "In some cases, there is no other developer or publisher. Even tracking down the people we need to approve can be very difficult." Modern Xbox can play many older Xbox. Not all of them are...

To play with this deal, Microsoft would have to negotiate a license New from the publisher for emulation on a new platform, which is why Nintendo, for example, can't count on initial release contracts to launch any NES game on a Wii virtual console.Not covered by the original contract, even Xbox 360 disc-based games require A new license to cover new emulated versions running on Xbox One (which includes downloading a new version of the game in the emulation package).


As Ronald mentioned above, finding the right companies to negotiate this new license is not easy. Always, especially if licensed music or middleware is playing. “Tell [the video decoder] it's built into the operating system rather than the game itself,” he told Ars. Depending on the original license, they might need to re-license it to the emulator, and if they can't anymore The Doing so, it could mean that they can't play games that use [decryption]. does it work?

A Hardware Solution?

In the past, other console makers have solved this problem by integrating hardware to play older games on newer systems. This is how the Game Boy Advance was able to play All previous Game Boy games, for example, early versions of PS3 can play PS2 and PS1 games, since these old games still technically run on the same hardware platform (only included in a new console chassis), licenses are still valid, This allows these consoles to offer full backward compatibility without going through many legal issues.

60 GB of original PS3 already includes PS2 hardware to enable backward compatibility.

This helps explain why you can't play a 25-year-old PS1 disc. By putting it on PS5. To change that, Sony would essentially have to add a version of PS1 hardware to the newer system, or re-license individual games one by one to legally mimic modern hardware. And both come with costs that Sony seems reluctant to incur.

This may be less of an issue for console makers in the future as licensing contracts begin to reflect the new reality of intergenerational support. “Many licenses today are considering replacement and counterfeit coverage,” Hugh said. "But like many aspects of licensing, it can be negotiated."

However, for older games, there are not many easy solutions from the point of view of console developers. Legal issues mean that console makers' dream of using simulation to "allow modern hardware to run any...CEOs" may remain a dream in many cases.

Image List by Aurich Lawson Getty Images

Legal problems preventing "legal counterfeiting"
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