As if this week wasn't already front-loaded with console news, Microsoft just approved an emulator for the Xbox One that can play classic Nintendo games.
Universal Emulator, an independent application by developer Nesbox, passed Xbox One certification today and allows users to play ROMs of NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced titles. (Yes, this is legally dubious, if you were curious.)
Nesbox's emulator has been available for some time on Windows Phone and PCs. However, porting an emulation program capable of playing a competitor's games onto a game console could be the final straw that lands Microsoft into some hot water with Nintendo.
Also interesting to note is that Universal Emulator appears to be compatible with Microsoft's HoloLens wearable, as shared by Windows Central's editor-in-chief Daniel Rubino.
Representatives at Nesbox's Twitter have stated concerns that the app is taking a long time to go live on Xbox One, though it's unclear if this is due to legal constraints or the approval process just taking its sweet time.
It's-a me, Mario's lawyers!
Nintendo has quite a storied history fighting unauthorized emulation, putting out a very specific legal guidelines on what is or isn't a legal way to play its games, Kotaku points out.
The company is also vigilant and litigious when it comes to unauthorized use of its intellectual property, which was demonstrated as recently as last month with copyright claims made against a Metroid II fan remake.
While uploading ROMs of Nintendo games on an emulator is illegal, the Universal Emulator can play other games developed with the Nesbox Console, which allows users to code their own retro-styled games.
A loophole it may be, but the potential for misuse may be enough to get Nintendo on the phone with some lawyers. We have reached out to representatives at both Nintendo and Microsoft, and will update the story as more information is released.