YaK:: WebLog #535 Topic : 2006-09-22 18.30.46 matt : Playing XBox games on XBox360 [Changes]   [Calendar]   [Search]   [Index]   [PhotoTags]   
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Playing XBox games on XBox360

Emulation, shmemulation. Why wait for Microsoft to perfect XBox emulation?

Microsoft recently added a couple more games to the Backward Compatibility List for the XBox360. Unfortunately, most of them are ones I don't care about.

I still have more than 20 XBox games I have yet to play. I'm not buying an XBox360 until I can play most, if not all of them. But that doesn't mean they have to emulate the entire XBox 100%. I have an idea: With XBox Live Marketplace on the 360, publishers could recompile the bare essentials of these XBox games for the 360 and require the original XBox DVD. Everyone wins in this scenario.

First, it opens up an interesting new market for porting houses that can do this kind of work. There are several thousand XBox games out there that aren't emulated yet, or the emulation provided by Microsoft just isn't good enough (speed issues, etc). Native compilation of the original code should solve that issue. Kind of like running a Windows program under wine versus recompiling it against wine's libraries.

Second, it's a great way to boost the sagging game content market. Getting the rights to do a port and republish on Live Marketplace could be a great way to make some cash on existing content. Like remastering prior CD and DVD releases. Unlike that variety of rape that I personally hate, you could charge $4.99 for the recompiled binary from Live Marketplace. It would definitely be worth it to me for some of these titles since I can generally buy them new for less than $20.

Popping in my Ultimate SpiderMan , Myst IV or Quidditch World Cup XBox DVD, paying $4.99 to download the 360 'update', and seeing them in 1080p (or 480p with FSAA and anisotropic filtering if there's too many hard-coded things that assume 480p/i) would be totally worth it to me. Even better would be if it wasn't just a recompile, but if *some* of the downgraded textures were replaced with 'new' textures that aren't as low-res as they had to be to fit in the XBox's RAM. For that added value, $9.99 might be a reasonable maximum price to play a game I already own.

It's double-dipping to be sure, but if done so as to not piss off consumers by keeping a reasonable price, it could be a winning situtation for the market and the consumers. If I was Ubisoft, Activision or EA, I would get on this Right Now. Or if I was Doublefine, the makers of Psychonauts who have complained loudly about the Xbox360 not emulating Psychonauts yet.

On a side note, I think that Microsoft should release their Xbox emulation software (or many parts of it) as Shared Source. Get the community at large working on this issue, please.


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by miah:
The problem with that is that Microsoft promised backwards compatibility, and the userbase is already famililar with that on the PS2. The way Sony did it for the PS2 though was by including the original PSX's cpu so it wasn't emulation, it could just run them. The 360 user base is basically expecting to get this for free, and asking them to pay would piss of most of them. I personally agree with what you're saying though, I'd definitely pay to be able to play many of the games I have for xbox on the 360, especially if you got upgraded textures.

The thing I'm amazed Microsoft hasn't done is offer a "save transfer". There are a couple games that I can play on my 360 that I've already played to death on the XBOX, but I can't transfer my saves over without a bit of hacking. Most saves are small, so why can't we use some service on Xbox Live to transfer my saves to their server temporarily then redownload to my 360?

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