Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event.
Like any creative medium, video game developers rely on a certain amount of riffing on other people’s ideas. But in order to evolve an existing concept, people need ways to easily access older works. That is something that is more challenging in video games due to the nature of software and hardware compatibility. And Xbox boss Phil Spencer wants the industry to embrace emulation to solve that problem.
“My hope — and I think I have to present it that way as of now — is as an industry we’d work on legal emulation that allowed modern hardware to run any (within reason) older executable allowing someone to play any game,” Spencer wrote in a message to Axios.
This is something that Microsoft’s gaming division is already doing with its software. The company’s latest gaming hardware, the Xbox Series X/S, can run many games originally released for Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. That is all thanks to software emulation that Microsoft built internally.
According to Spencer, emulation is valuable because it makes more of the history of gaming available to individuals. And that is crucial for creating something akin to a modern public library for gaming software.
The 2nd Annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit and GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2
January 25 – 27, 2022
“I think we can learn from the history of how we got here through the creative,” Spencer said. “I love it in music. And I love it in movies and TV, and there’s positive reasons for gaming to want to follow.”
The most obvious positive reason is for educational purposes. Empowering a student to easily access older games to learn design and mechanical lessons could lead to better games in the future. And that benefits everyone.
Emulation, of course, is already legal in most cases. The complications come from distributing copyrighted software, which enjoy lengthy legal protections.
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties