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Turn your Xbox Series S, X or Xbox One into a fantastic emulation machine.


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Edited June 2022 - you don't need Dev mode any more! And further instructions added and a new stand alone PS2 emulator that will make you very happy 

 

 

The Xbox One has had homebrew software available for years using Microsoft's Dev Mode options. In Dev Mode you can use Windows UWP apps, and it's been brilliant in allowing a homebrew scene to exist without the threat of piracy spoiling things. Backward compatibility on the new Xbox Series consoles  increases the performance  allowing emulation of consoles such as the Wii, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and there's rumours of Switch coming. 

 

So... Apart from being a pain in the arse switching between Dev mode and retail mode on the console, emulation on Xbox is really, really good.  But wait! What's this? 

 

 A coder called Gamr13 has created a store page that can be accessed on a regular retail console using the Edge browser. Download all the emulators you want without needing Dev mode. The emulators sit alongside your regular purchased games!

 

 It's a game changer.  There are stand alone emulators that upscale the graphics to 4K such as Duckstation for PlayStation gaming,  PPSSPP for PSP, Flycast for Dreamcast and more.  There's Retroarch for Arcade, PS2, Wii, GameCube, Atari, Nintendo DS, and loads more.

 

And now, a brand new stand alone PS2 emulator has been released with upscaled HD.  

 

And yes... All on a retail console.  No modding. No dev mode. No bans, or risks to you console or user profile.   And the upscaling! Seeing games rendered in HD and 4K. PSP and PS1 games are often transformed. Ridge Racer for PSP looks incredible in 4K with 60fps and no controller lag.

 

To do all this on a retail, unmodded machine makes the Xbox an essential purchase.  Surely Sony will have to improve the PS5, now that the Xbox plays PS1, Ps2, PSP etc? 

 

If you're interested in joining the thread, I'd jump to the last pages, this scene is fast moving and early pages of this thread are well out of date. 

 

How to do it.  

Download the emulators from here using the edge browser on your Xbox. 

https://gamr13.github.io/

 

Some emulators need you to copy the console BIOS into a particular location.   Get them all here in one zip file.

https://archive.org/details/retroarchbiospack1.0312020


For Retroarch, You'll want to FTP the bios files to the Xbox, using the FTP client on the gamr13 site above.  So download the stand alone emulators, download Retroarch, download the FTP client, use FTP to copy the bios files into the right places and you're done.  If you don't know how to FTP, get FileZilla (free) for your PC and Google how to copy files via FTP, it's not hard.

 

For Retroarch, unzip that bios file and you'll find it's a directory called system. 

 copy that system folder into the same place as the  Retroarch system folder on your Xbox. Look in the Retroarch settings menu and you can see the directory structure.  For me, the folder location was on the Q drive/

Users/Usermgr0/Appdata/Local/Packages.... TheN find the folder with Retroarch in the name, then

Localstate/System 

 

You want to copy the unzipped system folder from the pc on top of the system folder on the Xbox so all the files are in the same layout. Don't put your new system folder inside the system folder.

 

For other emulators you either don't need a bios, or you tell it where the bios is in settings. My recommendation is to use your external storage. For example, in that big USB drive full of the Isos of games, stick the PS2 Bios with your PS2 games, Dreamcast bios with Dreamcast games etc.  Then, in the emulator settings page, point the emulator to the default directories for the games and bios.

 

I've written loads of "Turn your (whatever) into a fantastic emulation machine" threads and there are always pros and cons , especially with new current consoles.  When soft modding a Wii for example you can be sure it's not getting any new firmware updates to spoil the fun, but the Switch risks online bans and bricking consoles if you do stuff wrong.  The Xbox carries none of these risks, frankly it's awesome and you should be doing this.  And if you need any convincing, just use the PPSSPP emulator to play PSP Ridge Racer.  Upscale it to 1080p or even 4K, and you'll be blown away by this 18 year old handheld game that looks every bit as good as Ridge Racer 6 on the 360 does, in 60fps on a big screen.  


 

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  • 4 weeks later...

How do you go about getting a retail version of retroarch though?  That's the bit that confuses me.

And then, even if you can get it installed, how do you go about getting your ROMs onto the machine for retroarch to play?

 

(I understand how it all works in developer mode - it's just the retail version I'm unsure of).

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  • 1 month later...

I can exclusively confirm that I am in the process of turning my XBox Series S into a fantastic emulation machine. I followed this to go to the right page to make the developer account, as it's not really explained in the MVG videos (going to the Developer Centre as suggested by just googling it asks you to bang in a work e-mail address, which is no bueno when you can just have the account under the same e-mail as the Live account). Current UK price for the account is £14.40 from what they took from my card.

The biggest issue at the moment is that the Dev Mode isn't very helpful unless you left the console on it 24/7 - booting in and out of Dev Mode takes about four minutes each way, and every time you leave Dev Mode there's a small checkbox that you need to untick, otherwise it clears all your sideloaded apps (aka. it nukes your Retroarch and any games you kept on the internal storage).

Otherwise, it's a great way to play Plumbers Don't Wear Ties in 2021. I've yet to mess around with PCSX2 as a Retroarch Core, as I'm only really used to the full program, but it'll be interesting to see how it deals with all the different graphics/audio plugins that the original program had - if at all, which is the more pressing concern. PCSX2 only really worked with everything because everything had a set combination of plugins and hacks.

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  • 1 month later...

I have set this up yesterday via a dev account - and is working well.  I want to move my rom  collection of the usb drive im using  as stuff like Dreamcast / ps1 etc only seem to run of the internal drive - but there appears to be a size limit on the downloads folder on the internal (think it’s 20 gig). Is there anyway to get round this? (I’ve changed the dev allocation size to 60 gig in the options but this doesn’t seem to have any effect on the download folder size limit  within retroarch).

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On 25/01/2021 at 12:47, Siri said:

, and every time you leave Dev Mode there's a small checkbox that you need to untick, otherwise it clears all your sideloaded apps (aka. it nukes your Retroarch and any games you kept on the internal storage).

Yeah I spent like 40 mins sorting it out this morning and then didn’t notice that fucking check box until I’d already tapped A. :doh:

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On 07/03/2021 at 09:55, papalazarou said:

I have set this up yesterday via a dev account - and is working well.  I want to move my rom  collection of the usb drive im using  as stuff like Dreamcast / ps1 etc only seem to run of the internal drive - but there appears to be a size limit on the downloads folder on the internal (think it’s 20 gig). Is there anyway to get round this? (I’ve changed the dev allocation size to 60 gig in the options but this doesn’t seem to have any effect on the download folder size limit  within retroarch).

 

I'm not entirely sure - when I had problems with the storage, it was because I couldn't find any of my folders that I set up via FTP at all.

 

I was able to fix it with changing Retroarch in the Dev Home to a Game instead of a UWP App (press select on the app from Dev Home and then settings, I think). I'm not entirely sure if it will help with your problem, though - I'm trying to keep as few things as possible on the drive due to it being a Series S and/or forgetting to untick the box on switching over!

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21 hours ago, Siri said:

 

I'm not entirely sure - when I had problems with the storage, it was because I couldn't find any of my folders that I set up via FTP at all.

 

I was able to fix it with changing Retroarch in the Dev Home to a Game instead of a UWP App (press select on the app from Dev Home and then settings, I think). I'm not entirely sure if it will help with your problem, though - I'm trying to keep as few things as possible on the drive due to it being a Series S and/or forgetting to untick the box on switching over!

Thanks sussed it out after changing the dev storage size,  once that’s done put the games into the windows apps folder - though for disc based games such as ps1 etc then still need to go into the retroarch systems folder which is a pain as there seems to be a 20 gig limit in there.
 

Ah well set up - every 8bit to 64bit sega and Nintendo game plus handfuls of mame , wii, dreamcast, GameCube , ps1 and 2 games as well as the full Amiga rom collection all working great (using up 60 gig of internal storage)

 

** update and now my emulation dream machine is complete I’ve added the completed zx spectrum rom collection to it 

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Quick question.

 

I've got a  Series X and I picked up a Series S before Christmas.

 

If I intend to use the Series S as ONLY an emulation machine, do I need to worry about ticking this box or can I shut it down and turn it on and leave everything intact, in other words, I will be leaving it in Dev mode all the time.

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21 hours ago, AceGrace said:

Quick question.

 

I've got a  Series X and I picked up a Series S before Christmas.

 

If I intend to use the Series S as ONLY an emulation machine, do I need to worry about ticking this box or can I shut it down and turn it on and leave everything intact, in other words, I will be leaving it in Dev mode all the time.


No need to worry at all in that case - if you shut down in Dev Mode, it boots up in Dev Mode.

As for Xenia - I personally haven't seen a UWP version of it laying around, and the original developers don't really have a plan for it if the Series S' Dev Mode doesn't have certain GPU instructions which are currently missing from it. So, not likely a short-term thing.

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22 hours ago, AceGrace said:

Quick question.

 

I've got a  Series X and I picked up a Series S before Christmas.

 

If I intend to use the Series S as ONLY an emulation machine, do I need to worry about ticking this box or can I shut it down and turn it on and leave everything intact, in other words, I will be leaving it in Dev mode all the time.

yeah you can leave it in dev mode for as long as you want - it doesnt revert back when you shut down etc.. only when you  go and select it to revert back

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anyone have any luck with Saturn games - when i fire them up i just get a black screen (tried changing video input no joy) not getting any errors about missing bios etc...  everything else runs great - even added some old dos games last night (xwing and tie fighter!!) 

 

update...  

 

got Saturn to work flawlessly even though I had the bios turned out they weren’t the correct ones needed - been enjoying the hell out of nights again 

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  • 2 months later...

Is anyone actively using their Xbox Series for emulation? I went down the rabbit hole of looking at a mini emulation PC (again), and price wise the Xbox Series S cannot be beaten. 

 

The ability to use a Wiimote would really finish off its capabilities, but you can't have everything. 

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  • 1 month later...
8 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

Thinking about picking up a Series S, essentially as a second Xbone and for emulation. 

 

How good is the emulation of DC, Saturn and WiiU? Is it a massive faff to switch in and out of dev mode? 


i believe it’s just a reboot to change modes.
 

but you have to be careful or it will wipe the dev mode files each time.

 

if you just want it to stay in emulation mode, it can be kept that way

 

 

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34 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

Thinking about picking up a Series S, essentially as a second Xbone and for emulation. 

 

How good is the emulation of DC, Saturn and WiiU? Is it a massive faff to switch in and out of dev mode? 

Yeah I'm the same. Series X for games, series s for emulation. What a world we live in. 

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20 minutes ago, carlospie said:

Yeah I'm the same. Series X for games, series s for emulation. What a world we live in. 

Does it work well, then? I was going to get an hdmi adaptor for my DC, but was thinking this might actually be better. Plus I kinda missed the Saturn and would like to have a look at a few games on that. And if can play Mario Kart 8, even better. 

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29 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

Does it work well, then? I was going to get an hdmi adaptor for my DC, but was thinking this might actually be better. Plus I kinda missed the Saturn and would like to have a look at a few games on that. And if can play Mario Kart 8, even better. 

No sorry,I'm thinking the same as you and would like more info. Only have series X ATM.

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Got this all up and running this week on my series X. Really straightforward following Archades Games YouTube videos.

 

My only issue so far..

- F zero GX on gamecube. Anyone got this to work? It just goes straight to a black screen and I have to quit out of Retroarch using the Xbox guide button.

 

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