Banjo-Kazooie as seen on Nintendo Switch Online
Image: Nintendo

Xbox, as you might have heard, is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. As part of this head of Xbox Phil Spencer has been doing a lot of interviews with media outlets this week - discussing the past, present and future.

In his latest chat with Axios, he's passed on a message to the rest of the games industry about the importance of emulation moving forward - calling for industry-wide support in order to preserve gaming's history and allow players to play and access the games they want across all generations. Here's exactly what he had to say:

“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."

“I think in the end, if we said, ‘Hey, anybody should be able to buy any game, or own any game and continue to play,' that seems like a great North Star for us as an industry.”

Xbox actually added 76 games to its backwards compatible library this week, but not long after this confirmed the team had reached its limits due to all sorts of roadblocks:

“While we continue to stay focused on preserving and enhancing the art form of games, we have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical constraints."

When it comes to emulation on the Nintendo front, Switch owners are currently required to subscribe to the company's Switch Online service to access the NES and SNES retro libraries. The recent launch of the premium Expansion Pack tier has also added Nintendo 64 and Sega Mega Drive games.

Unfortunately, unlike Xbox's backwards compatibility program, you can't purchase these titles separately. Nintendo, however, did offer digital retro downloads via its Virtual Console service during the Wii and Wii U generations.

What are your thoughts about Spencer's comments regarding emulation? What do you think of Xbox's efforts to preserve video game history compared to Nintendo and Sony? Leave a comment down below.

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