As expected, this workaround isn’t something Microsoft is officially endorsing and, at least as far as I can tell, seems rather complicated. First, the consoles’ ‘Developer Mode’ software needs to be installed via a Universal Windows Application (UWA). A $20 registration fee to be part of Microsoft’s Developer program is also required to access the app.
Next, RetroArch, well-known software capable of emulating several retro consoles across various devices, needs to be installed on the Xbox Series X/S. The PS2 emulation portion of this app, PCSX2, is still in development and reportedly somewhat glitchy — for example, PCSX2 isn’t currently capable of running PS2 games larger than 2GB. That said, early videos of the emulator in action on the Xbox Series X are very compelling.
The video below from YouTuber ‘Modern Vintage Gamer‘ shows off the original God of War running at what looks like the same quality as it did on the PlayStation 2.
There’s also an easier process to getting PCSX2 running on the Series X that was first reported by Ars Technica. This method utilizes a retail version of RetroArch listed as a “private app” in the Xbox Store. This version of RetroArch removes the file size limitation but requires an invite from its creator, ‘turnip3.’ It’s also likely Microsoft will quickly close this loophole. According to Ars Technica, only 1,500 people have downloaded RetroArch for the Xbox Series X/S via this method.
Reports indicate that RetroArch can also emulate Dreamcast, GameCube and Wii titles on the Series X/S.
What’s notable about this workaround is the PS5 can only play PlayStation 4 games through emulation. To play PS2 and PS3 games, you need to use Sony’s PlayStation Now video game streaming service.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S can run Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games through software emulation.
In some ways, this workaround is reminiscent of XBMX (Xbox Media Centre), homebrew software that allowed original Xbox owners to run several different emulators on Microsoft’s first video game console. At one point, popular media streaming platform Plex was even based on XBMC’s original code.
It’s unclear if Sony has plans to bring more retro PlayStation emulation options to the PlayStation 5 in the future.