After the most recent revision to Windows Store policies, Microsoft has banned system emulators. The Redmond-based company updated its Windows Store policies on March 29, but this small (but powerful) change went unnoticed until now.

Microsoft Emulators Windows Store
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Emulating game systems no more allowed in Windows Store

Recently, affected developer “NESBox” was notified about the change when its product Universal Emulator was removed from the Windows Store. The U.S. company gave no letter or notice with respect to the subject, but the developers at NESBox linked it to the changes in the Windows Store application rules that now include the line, “Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family.”

This means that the company has completely blocked all emulation of game systems from its store on all platforms. The tech company has still not disclosed the reason behind prohibiting all system emulators, but it could be related to the Xbox Live Creators Program, which allows developers to easily submit games for Xbox, notes IB Times.

The new rule is also bad news for anyone who plans to come up with an online multiplayer game via the Xbox Live Creators Program.

“Doing so will not be enough to enable cross-platform play,” notes Ars Technica. The developers of the free Universal Emulator were prompt in explaining how they would deal with the delisting.

They said, “This means nothing for the [Web] browser version, it doesn’t depend on ‘stores.’”

Apple also banned emulators from its App Store, but Google does not restrict emulators on its Android stores. Microsoft’s recent decision now leaves Google as the sole mobile app store which still supports game emulator apps, notes The Verge.

Not the first time for Microsoft

This is not the first time that Microsoft has taken action against emulators. In September 2016, the Redmond-based giant banned the N64 Emulator, which allowed users to play Nintendo 64 titles on their Xbox One consoles. However, this is the first time that the company has taken such a strict stance against all emulators, notes IB Times.

The change in the rules makes it clear that users of all Microsoft devices, including Windows 10 PCs, Windows 10 mobile devices, and the Xbox, will not be able to download emulators or play old games on new hardware anymore.

This ban on emulators may not have much impact on Windows 10 PCs or Xbox, but will surely affect Windows 10 mobile devices. This may work against Microsoft as well. The lack of emulators will result in fewer games and apps on the platform, thus (possibly) encouraging users to flee to Android.

Microsoft, in related news, is ready to disclose details about Xbox One Scorpio, and rumors suggest that games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be used to show off the console’s 4K capabilities. Some reports also hint that The Witcher 3 may be upgraded to 4K for the console and might be one of the games used to showcase the power of Xbox One Scorpio.