Windows Store removes Universal Emulator for Win 10 in clamp down

Microsoft has updated its Windows Store Policies to disallow the availability of emulators on the storefront. The news comes via the Twitter account for NESBox, which pointed out that its free Universal Emulator – which emulates NES, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive games, among others – has been removed from the store.

"Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family," the policies document specifies. That means emulators will not be obtainable on Windows 10 (via the Store), Windows phones and tablets and the Xbox One.

While it's unclear when the policy pertaining the emulators was added, the document was last amended on March 27, and NESBOX made its announcement regarding Universal Emulator's removal today. While the app can no longer be downloaded on the Windows Store, it's still available to download elsewhere. In other words – this affects Microsoft's store front, not the entire internet.

NESBox's availability on the Xbox One has a bit of a history: while it gained certification in September last year, Microsoft quickly moved to unpublish it in the following days, according to a report on Nintendo Life.

Whatever the case, it means Microsoft's store eco-system lags behind the likes of Google Play when it comes to openness: emulators of all stripes are rife on Android.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.