Microsoft Xbox X|S consoles suddenly become way more emulator and retro-gaming friendly: New update to Edge browser improves hardware access and gameplay

Microsoft Xbox Series XS Retro Gaming Javascript Web-based Emulators
Microsoft gaming consoles are now emulator-friendly? Pic credit: JackBrookes/Flickr

Some of the best emulators for Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Super NES, Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, MS-DOS, Amiga, and more are available as websites. With the recently released update for Microsoft Edge web browser, the Microsoft Xbox X|S consoles have become a lot more emulator-friendly.

The latest update of Microsoft Edge browser for Microsoft Xbox X|S consoles is a game-changer, literally. The web browser is now way more powerful, useful, and practical. For gamers who love old-school games, this means they can access many emulators on their consoles without paying $20 to activate Developer Mode.

Javascript-based emulators now work smoothly with direct hardware acceleration on Microsoft Xbox X|S gaming consoles:

There’s little doubt that Microsoft Xbox X|S dedicated gaming consoles are quite powerful. There are several games that benefit from high-end, immersive graphics. These consoles can offer photo-realistic visuals owing to the 12-teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU.

However, there are thousands of gamers who still enjoy the classics. With emulators, it is quite easy to indulge in retro-gaming. However, getting emulators to run well on a closed ecosystem like the Microsoft Xbox X|S gaming consoles isn’t easy or free.

Until recently, Xbox users either needed to enable Developer Mode or use external FTP software in order to access emulators on the console. Microsoft demands $20 to enable Developer Mode.

The Developer Mode feature does allow users to install development builds of software that utilize the Universal Windows Platform. However, several gamers pay the $20 Fee to play old games that Microsoft will never be able to offer.

Incidentally, activating Developer Mode shuts down access to retail games or the Xbox Store. Needless to mention, this is a big tradeoff.

The latest update to Microsoft Edge web browser for Microsoft Xbox X|S gaming consoles, however, makes retro-gaming a breeze, and that too without activating Developer Mode.

How does updating the Microsoft Edge web browser on a gaming console help retro-gaming?

As mentioned above, there are several websites that offer emulators for several gaming platforms. Web-based emulators exist for PS One and PS2, GameCube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Super NES, Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, MS-DOS, Amiga, and many more.

These websites work very well on a desktop computer running Linux, Windows 10, macOS, or any other operating system. Gamers only need a capable web browser.

The Microsoft Edge browser for Microsoft Xbox X|S gaming consoles was quite rudimentary. Microsoft had essentially a browser with limited functionality.

However, the Windows OS maker recently updated the browser. Technical jargon aside, the Edge browser for the gaming consoles is now at par with the version that works in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Retro-gamers reportedly needed better Javascript support. Microsoft not only offered the same, but the company also added features such as controller support and hardware acceleration. Gamers can also make use of RetroArch to play Dreamcast, GameCube, Wii, PS3, and PS2 games on Microsoft Xbox X|S.

Incidentally, Microsoft still does not allow File Access. Hence, retro gamers will still need some questionable websites to access ROM files. Gamers, can, however, create their own, private web server, to circumvent console restrictions.

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