TECH NEWS – Hooray, console development has finally caught up with the PC – albeit with a little delay of 24 years! Well, it’s just some keen retro gaming enthusiasts getting a little fiddly on the Xbox Series X.
Fact is, the majority of gamers prefer the new generation PS5 and Xbox Series X to see modern games in the latest and most excellent graphical fidelity. However, some devotees upgrade their consoles with alternative devices. Thanks to the efforts of a few retro gamers, Xbox Series X fans may choose to run Windows 98 on their impressive machines.
In a recent video, Digital Foundry showed how retro gaming enthusiasts could run Windows 98 on an Xbox Series X console using emulation.
Although the current iteration of Microsoft’s operating system is Windows 11, many gamers are fond of classics such as Windows XP, Windows 7 and early Windows 98. Xbox Series X owners can play Quake and the first Age of Empires, as well as Command and Conquer, Doom, Half-Life and Turok, among others, using this Windows 98 method.
Digital Foundry has found that the Xbox Series X doubles as an early Windows device when used with the RetroArch emulator with DOSBox Pure and a copy of Windows 98, similar to how PS2 emulation works on the Series X. From then on, each game installs as if you were inserting a disk into one of those chunky old tower trays. However, the Xbox Series X uses disk ISOs instead. Once these games have been installed on the Xbox Series X via DOSBox, they load from the desktop or the Start bar, just like on an old computer.
Running Windows 98 on the Xbox Series X only works using a controller and keyboard because although many mice are compatible with the console, this emulator is not currently capable of using one.
The DOSBox Pure emulator is incomplete in its current form, as Xbox Series X owners must also install special drivers to ensure that a game’s system requirements are met before it can be played. Games are also played from the Series X’s CPU, with the GPU not tracking the input in Digital Foundry’s video, which highlights that the original machine still renders in-game worlds faster than the modern console in most cases.
While many Xbox fans in the aforementioned Digital Foundry video expressed their enthusiasm for Windows 98-era PC gaming and the Voodoo 3dfx needed to run most games, others praised Xbox for being open to such emulation. Several responses emphasized nostalgia not only for early PC games but also for the boot tune and user interface. Although some pointed to the original Xbox and the use of GentooX to bring an old operating system to consoles, many welcomed the Xbox Series X as a high-end emulation machine.