A hacker and Xbox fan named Voxel9 recently uploaded a video demonstrating a Nintendo Switch running the original Xbox XQEMU emulator, confirming that Nintendo's mobile device is able to run most retro systems, albeit with varying levels of efficiency. The Switch homebrew scene has been growing ever since the release of a simple Switch hardware hack late in 2018, and hackers have already managed to get various retro systems and even Android (sort of) running on Nintendo's current-gen console.
The Switch has been a constant presence in the video game industry since its release, and the device is garnering a reputation for being extremely flexible despite being significantly less powerful than its competitors in the Xbox One and PS4. Nintendo's profits have been strong, the Switch games library is one of the strongest of any console in history, and the platform appears to be well-suited to the upcoming landscape shift in the industry as Google Stadia, Microsoft's new console, and the PS5 all look to make their mark on next-gen technology.
Even as the Switch surges forward, however, some of its fans have been looking backwards, too. Voxel9's video demonstrates a successful original Xbox emulation hack running on the Switch, even demonstrating the emulator being compiled by the console, then Halo: Combat Evolved and Jet Set Radio Future running to prove games are playable while the emulation software is running. Here's a look at the video:
Of course, it doesn't take an experienced hacker to realize that neither of the games are running optimally on the emulation software. Voxel9 has to increase the playback framerate of Jet Set Radio Future to a whopping four times to simulate what the game's playback experience should actually look like, and it's clear both games are struggling to maintain their standard performance. In the video's description, Voxel9 elaborates on how they achieved the successful emulation, stating that the Switch is running Linux instead of the system already housed within the console. Voxel9 has also been playing original Xbox games with a PlayStation 4 controller in one of the most irreverent displays of hacker practicality in recent memory.
Voxel9's hack looks like it could still use some smoothing, but we're still very much in the beginning stages of what the new Switch hacking environment will look like in the coming years. Now that hackers have access to the hardware hack, the homebrew scene will continue evolving, and it wouldn't be surprising to see some even more ambitious and fascinating software developments as 2019 rolls on.