Microsoft bans console emulators from the Windows Store

Your PC can still play Asteroids and Super Mario Bros. just not with an app from the Windows Store.

Emulators are programmas non grata on the Windows Store in Windows 10.

Microsoft recently clamped down and removed Nesbox's popular Universal Emulator for classic game consoles from the Windows Store. Microsoft also amended its Windows Store Policies to state that "apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family," as first reported by PC Gamer. It appears the company's policies were updated prior to Nesbox getting the boot.

The end result means there will be no emulators in the Windows Store for PCs and tablets, phones, Hololens, or the Xbox. Anyone who wants an emulator can still turn to a traditional desktop program instead of a Universal Windows (UWP) app.

Nesbox's Universal Emulator in particular has had something of a troubled history in Microsoft's brave new UWP world. The emulator is capable of playing Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and GameBoy Color and Advanced games. It's a great program for classic console fans, and last fall, it was surprisingly published to the Xbox One app store. That meant you could play classic games on Microsoft's console. The party didn't last long, however, and the app disappeared from the Xbox within days, as reported by Nintendo Life at the time.

Why this matters: Microsoft's reason for banning emulators is pretty obvious. Console emulators are legally problematic since they allow users to run pirated versions of classic games on their devices. Yet Microsoft's outright ban also shows how important it is for there to be alternatives to the Windows Store.

If (or when) support for traditional desktop programs ends, alternatives would be necessary so that users would be free to run any program they wanted. Universal Windows apps are synonymous with the Windows Store, but aren't required to be sold in Microsoft's walled garden; there's nothing stopping another company from making a Windows Store alternative. Sideloading UWP apps requires some extra steps, however, that many Windows 10 users either wouldn't be comfortable with or wouldn't bother doing.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?