Microsoft brings the hammer down on emulators in the Windows Store

April 5, 2017

If you used the Universal Emulator on Windows 10 (which was formerly known as NESBox during its time as a Windows 8.x app), you might be let down. Microsoft has updated Windows Store policies to completely block any and all emulation of game systems from the Windows Store on all platforms. It should be noted that emulation of PC systems (i.e DOSBox or VMware) seems to be fine, although there doesn’t seem to be any relevant app in the Windows Store at the moment to serve as proof of this.

While these policies were initially published at the end of last month, Microsoft is taking action to remove emulators from the Windows Store right now. Universal Emulator – which was previously denied an Xbox release due to the policies requiring UWP games to go through ID@Xbox – has been completely pulled from the Windows Store.

The reasoning for this is currently unknown, but there is a chance it’s related to the upcoming Xbox Live Creators Program. The Creators Program is part of the continued unification of the Xbox Store and the Windows Store, and focuses on getting UWP Xbox Play Anywhere titles on the store by making it significantly easier to submit them.

As Microsoft’s various stores continue to unify, it does leave a major question worth asking: why shouldn’t the rules across platforms be unified? Requiring UWP based emulators to go through ID@Xbox for a release on the Xbox One was a ban by another name, and this merely brings it to the rest of the devices running Windows 10. While it is disappointing, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Assuming this is the reason behind the ban, it’s likely that we’ll see even more rules regarding games in the Windows Store appearing very soon.

It’s also worth mentioning that at the time of writing there are still some game emulators on the Windows Store, but all of them seem to be made for Windows 8.

Do you believe Microsoft should have continued to allow emulators in the Windows Store? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

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