Xbox emulators

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The Xbox console and controller
The Xbox is a sixth-generation console released by Microsoft in 2001. Known originally as the DirectXbox, this console is notable for essentially being a PC, as a result of using components from both Intel and Nvidia as well as being x86-based. It is the most powerful console from the sixth generation.

Emulators[edit]

PC
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Active Recommended
Cxbx Windows Git
Cxbx-Reloaded Windows Git
XQEMU Windows, Linux, OS X Git
Dxbx Windows 0.5
Xenoborg Windows r19
Xeon Windows 1.0
Consoles
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Active Recommended
Xbox 360 Xbox 360 Patch based

Comparisons[edit]

  • Cxbx can boot around 61 games, with around a dozen in a playable state (List).
  • XQEMU is an LLE emulator which is gradually advancing. As of now, it can emulate the BIOS and many games at very slow speeds. But so far it runs some games at same / better speeds than CXBX while being graphically correct. Audio is also emulated (probably), just not forwarded to the audio hardware (for unknown reasons, so it's not emulating less either). Compat list (Page first created in 12 May 2017 starting with an old list by John GodGames from 2015.).
  • Xeon can emulate Halo CE to the point where the first stage is semi-playable. The walls and ground are pitch black and the game crashes after you complete first stage (or right after you select the difficulty on modern versions of Windows.).
  • Cxbx-Reloaded is a spin-off of the older Cxbx emulator with 64-bit compatibility built in (It no longer works on a 32-bit OS) and all improvements from various Cxbx branches and Dxbx included. It has good development momentum since mid-2016 (Compat List).

Note: This xboxdevwiki's Emulators page (First created on 15 May 2017) has a large list of 20+ different emulator projects & platforms (Most were abandoned soon after being started. Only 2-4 emulators made/have been making real progress) for the original Xbox hardware.

Consoles

  • The Xbox 360 is backwards compatible, but it is not fully accurate. While some games work off the bat, many need patches downloaded to play properly. This requires one's Xbox 360 to have system storage. Even then there are still issues with many games from graphical glitches and slowdown to errors that can make gameplay impossible.

Emulation issues[edit]

The pratfalls of Xbox emulation
Due to a lack of interest, a lack of console-exclusive games, or in some case very toxic behavior or potential legal threats towards developers, the Xbox emulation scene has remained dormant until recently. For the projects currently available, there is a high barrier to entry for the effort involved. In spite of its very PC-like hardware, the Xbox has enough proprietary elements to make emulation non-trivial. Many aspects of the Xbox's CPU, GPU, audio and BIOS are undocumented and not fully understood[1][2][3]. Reddit threads with more links to other threads & many detailed comments by JayFoxRox, with the explanations that XQEMU is the best suited emulator for developers to focus on in terms of improving accuracy and portability: [4][5].

However, as of May of 2017, serious strides have been happening in the Xbox emulation scene with CXBX-Reloaded and XQEMU making some games run at half a stable framerate or at a stable framerate with the game Smashing Drive. CXBX-Reloaded was also able to go ingame in Jet Set Radio Future with a somewhat decent framerate. Things are looking up for the Xbox emulation scene.

JayFoxRox, a contributor to the open-source XQEMU emulator team and regular commenter for that emulator's foundation and progress, has appeared at a Reddit thread[6] stating the fact that many more original Xbox games have been able to get in-game and, in some cases, at decent speeds on XQEMU. The first of the many bullet points on that original post has a link to the extremely large and growing XQEMU compatibility list.

CXBX-Reloaded's example videos:

[7] [8]

XQEMU's example videos: (John GodGames keeps making so many new XQEMU recordings. Please be sure to check them out at his channel [9].)

[10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

Images:

  • XQEMU's shots of various Xbox games booting to load and title screens.


References[edit]