Xbox One S Retroarch

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With a few tricks, your Xbox Series X S can play PlayStation classics with ease.

RetroArch can run on the usual platforms like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, but it stands alone in that it can support far more platforms beyond just that. The image used in MezzB's PSX shader is slightly blurry. Ideally I'd like to find an integer scale compatible 1080p shader with a higher image quality and a more realistic style like Exodus'. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated! Edit: Found one! It's actually a shader. The Xbox Series S may not be as powerful as the Xbox Series X, but it can be a worthy purchase for some players, especially if they are into emulation, according to a new video shared online today.

We really like our Xbox Series X and S. The hardware under the hood of these consoles are impressive, and even if the launch lineup is lackluster, the backward compatibility options are excellent. On an Xbox Series X S, you can play four generations of Xbox games right out of the box. But what if I told you that there's a way to expand that list even further? With $20, an external hard drive or USB, and a couple of downloads, you can install Retroarch onto your Xbox and play tons of classic consoles, including the PlayStation.

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

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The premiere gaming subscription

If emulation is not your thing, you can always try Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate unlocks over 100 games to play on your Xbox One, PC, or Android device.

How to set up a PS1 emulator on Xbox Series X S

  • The sign-up process
  • Installing Retroarch onto your Xbox Series X S
  • Running Retroarch
  • Playing PS1 games on your Xbox Series X S

How to install a PS1 emulator on your Xbox Series X S

A few things before we get started: First, you won't be violating your Xbox's warranty at all by doing this, as you'll be operating the emulator in Dev Mode, a space Microsoft created for developers to work in. Second, due to the gray legality of emulators, we won't be able to link to any emulator or ROM downloads directly, and third, because they're not running on native hardware, the games you're emulating may be littered with glitches or may not run at all — your mileage may vary. With all of that out of the way, let's get started.

The sign-up process

The first step to getting an emulator installed on your Xbox is to become an Xbox Developer. It's much easier than you think.

  1. Turn on your Xbox Series X S and navigate to the Microsoft Store from the Xbox Dashboard.
  2. Search for Xbox Dev Mode and download the Xbox Dev Mode app.

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  3. Once downloaded, open up the app, and you'll be brought to a screen that welcomes you to the development program. While it's nice, we don't need to pay too much attention to it.

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  4. Continue until you hit the third tab that features a link and an activation code. Once here, switch over to your computer and head to the link provided.

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  5. This link will bring you to the Microsoft Partner Page. Sign in to your Microsoft account.

  6. Scroll down to Developer Programs, and click Get Started. This will bring you to a sign-up page.
  7. Click Sign Up and fill out the registration info. At this point, you'll have to choose whether you want an Individual account or a Company account. Choose the individual account and pay the fee to activate Developer Mode.
  8. Now that you're all signed up, type in the link provided on the Xbox again, and it will bring you to your Manage Xbox One Consoles screen.
  9. Press the plus button on the right hand of the screen, select Activation Code, and enter the activation code that appears on your Xbox. The activation screen on the Xbox will time out if you take too long. If it does, just refresh the Xbox and webpage and enter the new code.

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  10. Back on your Xbox, you'll receive a confirmation that your Xbox is now activated for development. Select Switch and restart.

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  11. Upon restart, your Xbox will start in Dev Mode.

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  12. Go to Test accounts on the right and add your Xbox account.

Congratulations, you're now a registered Xbox Developer with total access to the Xbox Dev Mode. This will be the place where you will run your emulator.

Installing Retroarch onto your Xbox Series X S

The emulator of choice here is called Retroarch. We'll need to upload a compatible version of Retroarch onto your Xbox Series X S.

  1. Head over to the Retroarch website and download the Xbox One version of Retroarch, as well as the Microsoft Visual Package.
  2. Back on the Xbox Dev Mode home screen on your Xbox, you'll see a Remote Access address in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Click on the Remote Access Settings and make sure that Enable Xbox Device Portal is checked.
  3. Type the IP address into your web browser, and that will lead you to your Xbox Device Portal.

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  4. Click the Add button under My games & apps, and upload the Retroarch file you just downloaded and select next.

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  5. Upload the Microsoft Visual Package as the dependency file and select start. Now Retroarch will install onto your Xbox.

  6. Back on the Xbox Dev Mode screen, you should see Retroarch appear under the Games & apps section.
  7. Highlight Retroarch and press the View button on your Xbox Controller.
  8. Scroll down to View details, and change the App type from App to Game.
  9. Head back to the menu and select Restart Console for the changes to take effect.
  10. When the Xbox turns on, you're ready to use Retroarch.

Running Retroarch

At this point, Retroarch is operational, but there are a few changes worth making to get things running as smooth as possible.

  1. Select Retroarch from your Games & apps and enter the program. You'll notice that the menus look a little primitive, but we can fix that by scrolling down to the Online Updater and then Update Assets. It will take several minutes to update.
  2. Once that's done, the screen will flash black for a moment, and then your menu will look a lot cleaner.

    © Provided by Windows Central You won't see icons on your screen yet, but you will soon!

  3. While you're on this screen, select Update Core Info Files, Update Controller Profiles, and Update Databases and let those update.

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  4. Once that's complete, head back to the Retroarch Main Menu, move to the Settings Menu, and select Drivers.

  5. Scroll down to Video and change it from d3d11 to gl.

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  6. Once that's done, head back to the Retroarch Main Menu, scroll down to Configuration File. Select it and then Save Current Configuration.

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  7. Now quit and reboot Retroarch. The icons should be visible now, and everything should look as it should.

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  8. Before we finish, there are two quick QoL changes you should make to your emulator. For the first, head to Settings and then Input. Scroll down to Hotkeys, and then Menu Toggle Gamepad Combo. You can choose anything you'd like here, but I like using Start + Select. This will allow you to open the Retroarch menu to save and load your game.

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  9. Go back to the Settings once more, and down to User Interface. Scroll down and make sure Pause Content When Menu Is Active and Pause Content When Not Active are off. This will eliminate any errors you may encounter while playing games that require you to switch disc.

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  10. Head back to the Retroarch Main Menu and scroll down to Configuration File and Save Current Configuration.

You're done! Retroarch is installed and ready to go.

Playing PS1 games on your Xbox Series X S

Now that Xbox Dev Mode is activated, and Retroarch is fully installed, you'll need to find some PS1 games. This involves downloading a PlayStation bios and finding PlayStation ROMs. Once you find those, you'll be able to get PlayStation games running.

  1. You'll need to source a PS1 bios. You can create your own or find one online. Once you have it downloaded, rename it to scph5501.bin. This will allow it to read North American PS1 games. If you're curious, scph5500 is for Japanese games, and scph5502 is the European version.
  2. Go back to your Xbox Device Portal using the IP address found on the Xbox Dev Mode home screen.
  3. On the Xbox Device Portal, select File Explorer on the screen's left side, and then LocalAppData. Select Retroarch, then Local State, and then System.

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  4. Find the PlayStation bios and upload the .bin file.

  5. Now that the bios is in place, you'll need some games. You can search the internet for them or dump your own. We won't be providing any links for that here.
  6. Once you have your games, you'll need to move them to an external drive. I used a WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, but any high-speed external drive or USB thumb drive should work. Check out our choices for the best external hard drives for the Xbox Series X S.
  7. Plug in your drive, and a menu should pop up and ask you if you want to format the drive or use Media Storage. Select Media Storage.
  8. Load up Retroarch.
  9. Scroll down to Load Content, and down to the E:/ drive.
  10. © Provided by Windows Central
  11. Find the PS1 game you want to play and load up the .cue file. Then, choose the Sony – Playstation (Beetle PSX HW) core.

  12. Your game should start up just like it did on the original PlayStation!

A backdoor to many possibilities

The Xbox Series X S makes a surprisingly excellent emulator. The Xbox Series S, in particular, is an excellent entry point if you're interested in emulation on a budget. While it's nice to revisit classics from your childhood, remember that because they're not on native hardware, you will most definitely experience tons of glitches ranging from minor to game-breaking. When you're switching back to normal view, you'll be asked if you want to clear the sideloaded games and apps. Make sure you uncheck the box, or you'll have to do this whole process again.

Emulation isn't for everybody. If it's not for you, there are still tons of excellent Xbox games to play on your new console. If you don't know what to play, you can start by signing up for Xbox Gamepass Ultimate, Microsoft's premiere subscription service that offers more than 100 titles across your Xbox One, Xbox Series X S, PC, and Android device.

The premiere gaming subscription

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

© Provided by Windows Central

The premiere gaming subscription

If emulation is not your thing, you can always try Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate unlocks over 100 games to play on your Xbox One, PC, or Android device.

Leading 4K

Xbox Series X

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The full next-generation experience.

Xbox Series X is Microsoft's new flagship, as its most powerful console with over 12TF GPU performance and a custom SSD. It boasts up to 4K resolution and 120 FPS, full backward compatibility across four generations, and ray-tracing support.

Run emulator on xbox one

Next-gen in HD

Xbox Series S

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Experience next-gen gaming for less.

Microsoft serves the next-generation for less with its budget-friendly Xbox Series S. The console packs the same high-performance CPU and SSD technology as Xbox Series X, while scaling back the GPU and removing the disc drive.

Thanks to Developer Mode on the Xbox Series X and S, you can install emulators like RetroArch. Turn your Xbox Series X or S into a retro gaming powerhouse and emulate the PS2, GameCube, Dreamcast, and more, all without impacting your ability to play retail games.

First, Activate Developer Mode

The first thing you have to do is activate Developer Mode on your Xbox. To do so, you’ll need a paid Microsoft Partner developer account. This requires a one-time fee of $19 (pricing is different in other regions). Once you’ve activated your account, you can add your Xbox as a developer console.

RELATED:How to Put Your Xbox Series X or S into Developer Mode

With a valid developer account, you can download the Xbox Dev Mode app, activate your console in Partner Center, and then reboot in Developer Mode. From there, it’s just a matter of configuring your network connection, and then accessing the Xbox Developer Mode web interface via a browser.

Retroarch For Xbox One S

For this guide, we’ll assume you’ve followed the full setup procedure and your console is already booted in Developer Mode.

Installing the RetroArch Emulator

RetroArch is an emulator that works on virtually every platform and has a UWP package made just for Xbox One (and the Series X and S, by extension). This multisystem emulator uses plugins or “cores” to expand support for lots of different systems. You can choose which cores you want to use and switch between them for the best performance.

RetroArch makes it possible to play games from a huge variety of platforms right on your Xbox. This includes arcade machines, retro consoles (like SNES and Genesis), modern handhelds (like PSP), and early 3D home consoles (like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo N64, and Sega Dreamcast).

To get going, you first have to download and install RetroArch. On a computer, just head to the RetroArch Downloads page and grab the Xbox One version and the “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 UWP Runtime Package” dependency file.

Then, access the Xbox Developer Mode web interface by visiting the web address in the “Remote Access” section in Dev Home on your console.

Select “Add” on the Home page to access the file upload interface, and then drag and drop the APPXBUNDLE file you downloaded into the box (or click “Choose File” and locate it). Select “Next,” and then locate the dependency file you downloaded.

Click “Start,” wait for the process to complete, and then select “Done” after everything is transferred.

Now, under Dev Home, you should see RetroArch listed as “Not running” in the available apps and games. Highlight it, press the Views button on your controller (the two squares), and then select “View Details.” On this menu, change the “App type” drop-down to “Game.”

Back out of that menu, and then press A to launch RetroArch. When you’re asked to sign in, type your Xbox Live account details if you haven’t yet done so.

Setting Up RetroArch

After RetroArch is installed and running on your console, you can finish setting up the emulator, add some ROMs, and get to playing some games. Before you jump in, though, there are a few things you’ll probably want to do.

RetroArch’s interface is modeled on Sony’s X-media bar. This first appeared on the PS3 and, later, the PS4. There’s a horizontal and vertical menu, but you won’t see the icons representing the horizontal menu when you first launch the UWP version of RetroArch.


After the interface loads, press left and right on the d-pad to see the other options.

You can fix this by installing missing assets and switching the video driver. To do so, select “Main Menu” at the top left, scroll down to “Online Updater,” and then select “Update Assets.” While there, you can also update core info files, controller profiles, databases, overlays, and anything else you need to.

After this process is complete, a black screen will appear and the menu will reload.

Now, you’ll have to define a button combination that will allow you to access the in-game Pause menu. To do that, just return to the “Main Menu” and move horizontally to select “Settings” at the top left.

Scroll down to “Input” and select “Hotkeys.” Define the “Menu Toggle Gamepad Combo” shortcut by pressing left and right on the d-pad until you find a shortcut that works for you (“Start + Select” or “R3 + L3” are both good options).

Finally, save your settings by returning to the “Main Menu” and selecting “Configuration File.” Click “Save Current Configuration,” and then quit and reload RetroArch. You should then see a much cleaner interface with all the icons visible.

Adding ROMs and BIOS Files

ROMs should go in the “Downloads” folder on the local disk space accessible by RetroArch. To do this, open the Xbox Device Portal in a browser on your computer, and click “File Explorer.” Navigate to LocalAppData > RetroArch > LocalState > Downloads, and then use the file picker at the bottom to add any ROMs you’ve legally acquired.

Warning: Be sure to follow all relevant laws when acquiring ROMs and BIOS files. A law professor provided us with a detailed analysis of the legalities surrounding emulating retro video games.

It should be possible to add ROMs to an external drive, but unfortunately, due to the temperamental nature of RetroArch in its UWP app form, we couldn’t get this to work during testing.

You’ll have to put any BIOS files you want to use in the LocalAppData > RetroArch > LocalState > System folder.

RELATED:Is Downloading Retro Video Game ROMs Ever Legal?

Xbox One S Retroarch Performance

Playing Games

To play a game, select “Load Core” in the “Main Menu.” Be sure to choose a core that matches the system type you’re playing. You might have to do some research to find out which are best for the job.

With a core selected, choose “Load Content” in “Main Menu” to locate your ROM file. Keep pressing A until your ROM file loads. In the future, you’ll be able to find your core and ROM file in the “History” menu.

To pause a game, save a gameplay state, or return to the main RetroArch menu, use the hotkey shortcut you defined earlier. From there, you can also quit RetroArch. To return to Retail mode, just select “Leave Dev Mode” from the “Quick Actions” menu in Dev Home.

The Best Backward Compatibility Yet

The Xbox Series X and S not only have the best backward compatibility of this generation, but they’re also incredibly powerful emulation machines. Since this version of RetroArch has been thrust into the spotlight, developers will hopefully pay a bit more attention to the UWP build in the future.

RetroArch is a fantastic multisystem emulator, regardless of which system you run it on. If you’re interested, there’s much more to learn that will help you get the most out of RetroArch.

Xbox One S Retroarch Download

RELATED:How to Set Up RetroArch, The Ultimate All-In-One Retro Games Emulator


Retroarch Xbox One Retail Mode

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