Microsoft bans game emulators from the Windows Store with rules change

The Windows Store is now officially a no-go for game emulators. In changes made on March 29 to its Windows Store policies (via Ars Technica), Microsoft has completely banned emulators from its confines, stating "apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family."

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The ban has already had an effect on developers; the folks at NESBOX noted that their Universal Emulator has been unpublished from the Store following the rules change. This isn't the first time NESBOX has run into problems with Universal Emulator on the Store, but its previous bout with being unpublished was because of a conflict with ID@Xbox rules and not an outright ban.

It's not hard to see why Microsoft would want to distance its Store from the world of game emulators. Game emulation has historically been a murky legal area, and allowing console emulators into the Windows Store could be seen as a tacit endorsement, potentially opening Microsoft up to legal issues.

Of course, this only applies to the walled garden of Microsoft's Store across its platforms. Anyone who wants to toy around with an emulator can still bypass the Store altogether and secure one from other parts of the internet.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl