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Developers restore “retail” Xbox emulators after Microsoft crackdown

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It's been about three months since Microsoft cracked down on a number of emulators designed for Xbox consoles and distributed via a loophole in the Xbox Store. But that crackdown hasn't stopped the Xbox emulation community, which this weekend launched a new version of those "retail mode" emulators that they're confident will be able to evade Microsoft's automatic detection and removal tools.

The newly accessible emulators come courtesy of the "UWeaPons Store," a name that references the Universal Windows Platform program that allows generic Windows apps to be distributed to Xbox consoles in the first place. Subscribing to the group's Patreon for $2 per month puts supporters on an email "whitelist" that allows access to "Le Bombe," a package that can install Dolphin (GameCube/Wii), XBSX2.0 (PlayStation 2), Xenia (Xbox 360), and RetroArch (multiple older consoles) on a standard Xbox console.

That new unified distribution package is partly designed as a way to avoid the algorithms that were automatically flagging and blocking previous attempts to distribute UWP emulators through the Xbox Store, according to emulator developer SirMangler. "We wrote a new package from scratch and stripped as many identifiable elements as possible, including all the emulators into one download," he told Ars in a Discord chat.

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