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Xbox boss Phil Spencer is a big proponent of legal game emulation

Spencer hopes the industry starts using emulation to help preserve games.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer believes older games should be preserved and feels that “legal emulation” is something the industry needs to get behind.

Speaking with Axios, Spencer said that similar to movies, television, and music, the preservation of older games needs to be a priority with the industry.

"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,” he said.

Microsoft has done its best to help in this matter by adding more games to its backward compatibility library. Most recently, 76 games of its Xbox and Xbox 360 games were added, allowing owners of the originals to play these games on the newer consoles. Of course, if you don't already own the games, they are also purchasable.

The addition of these games backs up Spencer's opinion that "anybody should be able to buy any game, or own any game and continue to play."

When it comes to the other platform holders, Sony and Nintendo, there is a bit of a different approach. Sony's PS5, for example, only supports backward compatibility of PS4 games - this is not including older games accessible through PS Now. Nintendo on the other hand has some games from its older systems available for Switch through its Switch Online subscription service - but you can't keep these titles unless you maintain a sub.

So at present, Xbox is the only console out there that supports all generations via backward compatibility, and also without a subscription. And this is something Spencer says should be adopted by all, and become the "great North Star for us as an industry."

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