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How To Make Your Xbox One/Series Run Emulation/Homebrew Without Hacking It

Thanks to the availability of developer tools on Xbox consoles, it is possible to run homebrew or emulation on it. Follow this guide to know the complete process.

Homebrew or Emulation is perhaps one of the reasons to hack a console. If you own an Xbox One or Xbox Series, thankfully, there is a completely legal way to enable this feature on your console. This is possible through a developer mode that can be activated so that any custom apps can run on the console and it requires a small amount of fee in order to register an account for Microsoft.

While the small fee might feel inconvenient, it is actually different depending on your region. In countries like Pakistan, Microsoft is asking for roughly $13 to register a developer account, while in the United States, the fee charges are a flat $20.

How To Enable Developer Mode

Microsoft has shared the following guide on converting your console to a dev kit. It can be done on almost any Xbox console without any limitations.

  1. Start your Xbox console.
  2. Search for and install the Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox One store.
  3. Launch the app from the Store page.

  4. Note the code displayed in the Dev Mode Activation app.

  5. Register an app developer account in Partner Center. This is also the first step towards publishing your game.
  6. Sign in to Partner Center with your valid, current Partner Center app developer account. If you don’t see multiple options in the left hand navigation pane, or don’t see the Create a new app option in the Overview section, the following steps and activation links will not work; make sure you fully registered your app developer account from the previous step.
  7. Go to partner.microsoft.com/xboxconfig/devices.
  8. Enter the activation code displayed in the Dev Mode Activation app. You have a limited number of activations associated with your account. After Developer Mode has been activated, Partner Center will indicate you have used one of the activations associated with your account.

  9. Click Agree and activate. This will cause the page to reload, and you will see your device populate in the table. Terms for the Xbox One Developer Mode Activation Program agreement can be found at Xbox One Developer Mode Activation Program.
  10. After you’ve entered your activation code, your console will display a progress screen for the activation process.
  11. After activation has completed, open the Dev Mode Activation app and click Switch and restart to go to Developer Mode. Note that this will take longer than usual.

Afterward, it is a simple process. You can switch between a “Developer Mode” and a “Retail Mode” from Dev Home on your Xbox consoles. Use the Developer Mode to install homebrew apps for emulation or perhaps create your own app in order to test it on Xbox or Windows.

How To Run Emulation/Homebrew On Xbox Consoles

Retroarch is the only software that has made it possible to run emulators on the Xbox consoles. It is a bit complex to figure out at first but once you understand the basics, it is relatively easy to set up

To install Retroarch, head to the official download website and grab the Xbox files from there. You will then need to use the Xbox Dev mode browser to install these files on your Xbox One. Afterward, download assets and cores to your console and then load a core before playing a particular emulator. You will obviously need copies of legally obtained ROMs in order to run the games using emulation.

While the emulation works fine on the Xbox One X, it is best tried on Xbox Series consoles which have a better CPU and modern GPU to handle Retroarch.

Salal Awan

Salal's main hobby is photography but he is also interested in learning the latest about Technology including Smartphones and PC Hardware. He is the co-founder of Twisted Voxel and always on the lookout for the news.

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