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Forget the PS5 — Xbox Series X can run old PlayStation games

xbox series x, xbox series s
(Image credit: Future)

In our Xbox Series X review we noted how powerful and comprehensive Microsoft's new games console is at running older Xbox games, but we’d not expect it to be a machine to PlayStation 2 games on. 

However people lucky enough to have snagged an Xbox Series X or an Xbox Series S have been using emulation to run PS2 games on both of Microsoft’s new consoles. YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer showed off how classic Sony games can be run on an Xbox Series S by accessing the console’s developer mode. 

It might seem strange to use a powerful new console to run decade-old PS2 games, given the new Xbox consoles can run new graphically sumptuous games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla. But some people love to test the capabilities and limitations of new games consoles. So it was only a matter of time before we saw someone roll up their sleeves and dig into the new Xbox.  

According to VG247, the new Xbox consoles are able to be used to run seemingly ancient games as the developer mode allows them to run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. Doing this allows open-source retro game emulators like RetroArch to run, and thus provides the framework to run old games on the latest gaming hardware. 

What’s interesting and somewhat ironic here is that the PS5 can only run PS4 games in a backwards compatibility mode; older PlayStation games won’t run on the hardware. In comparison, the Xbox Series X and Series S will run Xbox games as far back as the original Xbox; it’ll also enhance them by adding automatic high-dynamic range upmixing. 

None of these enhancements are applied to the PS2 games on the new Xbox machines, but it’s still amusing that they can run some PlayStation classics when the PS5 cannot. 

Of course, the scarcity of both the PS5 and Xbox Series X renders this a little moot, as it seems like precious few people can get hold of the new consoles for gaming of any kind. Check our where to buy Xbox Series X and where to buy PS5 to be in with a chance of getting one of the consoles while avoiding scalpers

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.