The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are consoles with diverse and varied possibilities that offer to play many games, including some fairly unsuspected titles. As we saw in our file dedicated to emulation on Xbox, Microsoft consoles are able to run multiple emulators to launch Wii, PS2, Gamecube or PSP games to name a few. If this is already a rather remarkable feat, know that it is even possible to install a “new” operating system on the machine to play PC games.
Windows 98 on Xbox Series X
Via the experts at Digital Foundry, we discover that it is indeed possible to install Windows 98 on Xbox Series X|S. You are surely wondering what good the installation of such an old OS on a new generation console can be? The answer is simple, it is first of all a rather exhilarating (and very funny) challenge to manage to install Windows 98 on a machine running Windows 10, and it also and above all allows you to play old PC games directly on Xbox.
It was Alex Battaglia who embarked on this adventure which is not within everyone’s reach. You must first switch the console to developer mode and pay the required fee, then download RetroArch, the platform that allows you to install many emulators. It is via the latter that you can then use DOSBox Pure core to install Windows 98.
This is not an easy task and we obviously advise you not to try the experience if you do not have the required skills.
Play Turok, Quake, Half-Life…
After setting up the emulator, installing Windows 98 and its multiple drivers to make the peripherals work, it’s now time to install games and see how they run on Xbox Series X. The Digital expert Foundry explains that in most cases the experience is very satisfactory despite the fact that it was not possible to take advantage of a mouse. The latter was emulated via the Xbox controller sticks and yet offered an acceptable experience.
The performances are relatively good despite some glitches when you want to use the 3dfx Voodoo graphics card, emulated in Windows 98. The latter is notably managed only by the console’s CPU, which leads to certain limitations in game since the processor must manage emulation, Windows 98 and all its APIs.
Compared to the hardware of the time, there is therefore, depending on the game, a degradation in performance linked to the complexity of the emulation of the graphics card. However, it is possible to drastically improve the experience by modifying the graphics settings in-game or by using only the emulated CPU.
Below is the full video from Digital Foundry. Fun fact, Alex Battaglia indicates that he wrote the script for the latter directly from the console using Word.
To say that consoles are just PCs has never been more true than today and to see such games running on an operating system from Microsoft that is over 20 years old, emulated through an Xbox console from 2022, is still quite amusing.