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Microsoft Nintendo Windows XBox (Games) IT

Microsoft Formally Bans Emulators On Xbox, Windows 10 Download Shops (arstechnica.com) 116

Microsoft is officially banning emulators from Windows Store. The company has updated the Windows Store policy to announce the changes. The new rules bar any applications that emulate pre-existing game systems, resulting in the removal of a popular program that supported games from Nintendo and Sega and other consoles. From a report on ArsTechnica: An affected developer was notified of the change on Tuesday when its product, Universal Emulator, was delisted from the Windows Store. While no proof of a letter or notice from Microsoft was published, the developers at NESBox linked to relevant changes in the Windows Store application rules, dated March 29, which now include this line: "Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family." This list of general Windows Store rules, written for developers, received a massive update to its "Gaming and Xbox" requirements; these used to contain only one sentence, and it referred hopeful Windows Store game developers to the ID@Xbox program. That existing program requires pre-approval by Microsoft, but developers will soon be able to publish their games directly to both Xbox and Windows 10 marketplaces by paying a one-time fee of $100 or less as part of the Xbox Live Creators Program.
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Microsoft Formally Bans Emulators On Xbox, Windows 10 Download Shops

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  • What about paid emulations?

    Will they stay?

    I know of a few and they may have even copied code from other free GPL ones as well.

    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:27PM (#54194709)

      ...by paying a one-time fee of $100 or less as part of the Xbox Live Creators Program.

      Finally, Microsoft is showing some humility.

      I remember when they were first starting the app store for Windows phone, they would waive the first year of registration for app developers but would tell us that we should expect a fee of $100 for each year after that (when the Android app store only had a one-time fee of $25 and 10+ times the existing market share.)

      However, it is unfortunate that Microsoft is still a bit out of touch. In the case of game system emulators, they should have just said that they're banning the emulation of proprietary game systems (not officially endorsed by the companies owning those game systems in the first place). That policy would have been sensible enough. Instead, they chose to enforce a blanket policy that makes little sense, only attracts bad press, and that provides no significant benefit to their platform.

      • It does provide some benefit...Nintendo and other companies like Sega have been looking in to repacking old titles from previous consoles and reselling them on everything from PC to the Playstation, and this would require an internally packed emulator of course. Well, this might be an indication that this actually will be happening and if those titles go on sale in the Windows Store, they certainly don't want competing projects that allow you to play those same titles without paying them, listed.

      • In the case of game system emulators, they should have just said that they're banning the emulation of proprietary game systems (not officially endorsed by the companies owning those game systems in the first place). That policy would have been sensible enough.

        I disagree. Why should they even care? Are they afraid that original Xbox games will be playable on the Xbone?

        Again, playing in someone elses sandbox is a prescription for trouble for you. For myself, I will never participate in the Microsoft Store.

    • Microsoft is in madness. It must be very graduated, very pro. computerallogists following the trend and culture and going against the market with yet another NO, BANNED, LIMITATION strategy like religions do. The bad case is Nintendo, Nintendo DS/DSi is the best portable console you can find despite its software base being very limited. Could have become the first cell videophone, for instance. Those games are the best you can find, even superior to same game PC versions! But the console is leaving the mark
  • by Blythe Bowman ( 4372095 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @04:56PM (#54194467)
    I will make sure I will never buy a Windows machine that can't run normal windows *programs* (not just "apps")
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:06PM (#54194553)

      This is just banning emulators from the Microsoft store. You can still download and install (sideload) on PCs like you've always been able to do.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > You can still download and install (sideload) on PCs like you've always been able to do.

        For now. " I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further. "

      • Except on WinRT style devices, which I think is what GP is referring to, including the upcoming sequel that is trying to be a ChromeOS clone. (I believe the code name is Windows 10 Cloud, which is just windows 10 except you can only install stuff from the store.)

      • You can still download and install (sideload) on PCs like you've always been able to do.

        You can right now. It may be interesting to see what direction MS take in the future. After all they have already made side-loading opt-out with a setting in Windows 10.

        I for one welcome our new PC controlling overlords, and then I will spit in their coffee.

        • I'm talking about old school applications (not appx). There is no opt out for sideloading those.

          • Err you've not been paying attention to the Insider releases have you. That lovely new option that they introduced: "Allow apps from the Store only". The ones that block any exe not signed by Microsoft.

            That is definitely opting out of old school applications.

            • Right, it is in prerelease builds. Not anything mainstream, and no guarantee that the feature will remain in the final release or if it will work the same.

              • Right, it is in prerelease builds. Not anything mainstream, and no guarantee that the feature will remain in the final release or if it will work the same.

                You do know the final build of creators update was released 4 days ago as manual download and will hit windows update to start being automatically applied on Monday right?

                Some lovely setting screenshots [windowscentral.com]. Scroll almost exactly half way down to find your guarantee that this is in build 1703 which most people will get whether they want it or not within the coming few weeks.

    • by jbn-o ( 555068 )

      But you'll keep buying systems to run Microsoft Windows. I see your comment was moderated as "insightful". Your comment doesn't live up to the subject header. Your critique gives a mild bit of chastisement to a narrow problem ("can't run normal windows programs") while giving money and power to Microsoft overall ("buy a Windows machine"). This view will help keep them in charge, not challenge them in any serious way. That's not insightful, it's forgoing freedom while complaining about smaller matters better

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @04:59PM (#54194493) Journal

    Essentially they are telling you what you can and can't install on your own system.

    The whole, "You're renting", or "You're the product" is BS. It's your system. You paid for it. You can install what you want.

    • by subanark ( 937286 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:10PM (#54194575)

      You mean avoiding a lawsuit.There is a lot of emulator use to play pirated old console games. This is a legal gray area.

      • Except they can also be used to play homebrew games, and honestly, the emulator itself is not illegal and it's not up to Microsoft to police that. By that logic, Windows would need to be restricted on what programs you can install, since a person might install pirated software.
        • What is more likely to cause a lawsuit: allowing illegal use, or preventing legal use?

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          By that logic, Windows would need to be restricted on what programs you can install, since a person might install pirated software.

          For that to work, first Microsoft would have to have some really nefarious monitoring built into Windows that keeps tracks of what apps you have installed on the system and report it to them. Also, a something built into Windows that can prevent certain programs from opening if they are deemed a problem, kinda like how antivirus software can stop things from opening and encrypt files so they are unable to be used. Customers would naturally need a way of finding programs for their computer that they can be a

          • by Calydor ( 739835 )

            I'm impressed. I have no idea after reading your post if you actually don't know that Windows 10 has those capabilities, or if you're using reverse psychology to make other people realize it does ...

            • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

              The latter.

              I was pointing out that Microsoft is quietly walking towards that future already. They only have to get all their building blocks in position (which is easy when you can change things in the operating system down the line without having to get the user's consent first). Most of these things (built-in antivirus, an App Store), looks fairly innocuous or downright decent at first (why pay a yearly fee for Norton when Redmond has you protected?). Their main hurtle is getting everyone onto a platform

      • This is a legal gray area.

        No, it really fucking isn't. Microsoft has NO RIGHT WHATSOFUCKINGEVER to tell me what I can and cannot do with my property!

        • It's their store, they can choose what to host on it. Letting people install non-approved software is a different topic of discussion, and is not limited to just Microsoft in the console market.

          • Letting people install non-approved software is a different topic of discussion

            Except it isn't, because this store is run by the same company that controls the whole platform, the platform in question is has by far the largest market share of any general-purpose computing platform, and the company has the power (because of the DMCA) to destroy the open nature of that platform at a whim.

            The issues are inextricably related because we are one step away from an "only criminals would run non-approved software" [gnu.org] e

            • My comment only applies to XBox, which Microsoft isn't as big in. For Windows, you are free to install anything you want and for the most part pretty easily. That's not going to change anytime soon.

              • That's not going to change anytime soon.

                Microsoft is doing literally everything in its power -- and several things that should be beyond its power -- to change that ASAP.

      • This is a legal gray area.

        The existence of an emulator is not a legal grey area. But hey, MAME is only 20 years old and hasn't been sued, and every other emulator even ones for specific consoles which has been sued has won in court.

        • Bleem! may have won in court, but the legal costs are one of the reasons they went out of business. Microsoft just doesn't want to be involved in any potential legal challenges.

          • Bleem! may have won in court, but the legal costs are one of the reasons they went out of business. Microsoft just doesn't want to be involved in any potential legal challenges

            Microsoft? THE Microsoft? The company with armies of lawyers perpetually at work? The company that has spent 15 years fighting legal battles against various states? The company that takes on governments rather than just handing over a bit of consumer data? The company who's litigation has its own wikipedia entry (I am not kidding). hahhahahahahahahahh you had me there. +1 funny to you.

            Sorry but your comment is horseshit. Bleem as well as others have provided a lovely bit of prior art. Combined with the fact

    • Essentially they are telling you what you can and can't install on your own system.

      Essentially they are doing no such thing. They are only telling developers what they can and can't sell through the official channel. The end user doesn't come into it.

  • Amirite?

    Seriously this is going after "pirates" as in anyone who would dare play a game that's not for one of their current systems.

  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:02PM (#54194507)
    Wait, there's someone who develops for the Windows App store?
  • by LocalH ( 28506 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:02PM (#54194513) Homepage

    Would a Commodore 64 or Apple II emulator be acceptable? They're not defined as "game systems" as there is a significant non-game use.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:17PM (#54194629)
    ... and Microsoft Windows will become a dead consumer OS. I used to game a lot on Windows PCs. For the first time I'm considering buying a Playstation 4 Pro instead.
    • I deleted Windows from my computer altogether this year after dual-booting to play game in Windows since... a long time ago. Although I don't get all the games I want to play in Linux (Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, Battlefield), there are enough games that I do want to play.

  • by skipkent ( 1510 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:17PM (#54194635)

    Games like "Mega Man Legacy Collection" use emulators.

    "After digging around the engine in a disassembler, yup, there's a NES emulator in here. (The classes that "hold" the games are even called bs::nes::MegaMan which implements a bs::nes::NESSystem class too :P)"

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Megam... [reddit.com]

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday April 07, 2017 @05:20PM (#54194659)

    Oh yeah that horrible abortion nobody uses.

    The real news is that there were Emulators there (I mean, I guess? Or is this a preemptive strike against having fun with Windows 10)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm fairly certain at least some of those emulators exists as javascript and can run in any web browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doing this sort of thing on XBOX sucks, but is par for the course for a game system.

    You sign up to live in a walled garden when you buy an XBOX (hint: don't buy one).

    Doing this to desktop Windows is UN-FUCKING-ACCEPTABLE !!!

  • Not sure if the Playstations allow emulators, but whether they do or not I'm guessing Sony will increase its gaming platform adoptions over Microsoft's product even more than its current ~2:1 advantage.
  • Alot of the complaining seems a bit disingenuous. Game consoles have always been locked down, proprietary, restrictive devices. Remember when Sony removed the Other OS option? They reserve the right to change the playing field whenever they choose. If you don't like this type of behavior, don't buy their console.
    • You do understand that in the event you cite Sony was slapped hard in court for, right? It was an ILLEGAL action. They had no such right to remove OtherOS in the manner they did. You should construct better arguments.
    • They reserve the right to change the playing field whenever they choose. If you don't like this type of behavior, don't buy their console.

      NO, GODDAMNIT!

      Sony's (or any other company's) right to control the product it sells fucking ENDS the nanosecond after the sale is completed. Companies do not have the right to hack into, vandalize or destroy people's property, nor do they have the right to dictate how the property owner can use it.

      This is nothing less than AN ATTACK ON THE RIGHT TO OWN PROPERTY ITSELF,

      • You're right. The other os lawsuit won a settlement for those effected. People should assert their right to use the hardware as they choose. But game consoles are built around the concept of restricting the use of the hardware and forcing developer to pay the manufacturer for the right to create software for it. Why support this model of hardware manufacture? Aren't you just giving them more motive to do this again. It won't surprise me at all if game console manufacturers do this again, even if there's a l
        • Why support this model of hardware manufacture?

          What? Not only do I not support it, I'm saying that merely "not supporting it" doesn't go far enough and the entire business model should be fucking outlawed!

  • Microsoft: "Hey, that's pretty cool. We wish we'd thought of that...but we didn't, so now we're going to stop you from doing it."

  • I've just always used a MAME emulator on my phone, just about any of the old ROMs are available for it. They don't phone home, just a bit of work getting used to playing them (Bubble Bobble).

    https://games.slashdot.org/sto... [slashdot.org] will take you to 30+ gigs of free ROMS for Mame.

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