Original Xbox Can Be Emulated On Steam Deck Using Xemu Emulator

Xemu emulator is compatible on Steam Deck, running some prominent titles like Halo: Combat Evolved in 60 FPS.

The Steam Deck lived up to its hype and has proven to be a worthy contender for Nintendo Switch. A whole computer is condensed right into your hands. With easy-to-use controls in this powerful handheld, your Steam library can be enjoyed on the go. The console is designed to keep up with the modern titles that demand high-end specifications to run without burning your fingers. 

The portable is able to run most AAA titles smoothly at good settings. Games like Grand Theft Auto 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, Alien Isolation, and Elden Ring can run on the device. The recently released Halo Infinite can also run on Steam Deck through SteamOS. 

Surprisingly, the portable is also compatible to emulate nostalgic olden titles from decennia ago. A Youtuber, Modern Vintage Gamer, has utilized the Xemu emulator to run original Xbox games on the Steam Deck. The Xemu emulator also provides Rumble support to Steam Deck.

Xemu emulator is “A free and open-source application that emulates the original Microsoft Xbox game console, enabling people to play their original Xbox games on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.” Modern Vintage Gamer shows that the Xemu emulator can be utilized to play many prominent Xbox titles on Steam Deck.

The Youtuber shows two ways to install the Xemu emulator on Steam Deck. You can download the “EmulationStation Desktop Edition,” which provides a clean and inviting user interface. On the other hand, you can install the Xemu from the packages available on the Steam Deck. The walk-through and the additional pieces needed to install Xemu can be found on the official Xemu website.

Modern Vintage Gamer plays through some well-renowned Xbox titles to test the compatibility of Steam Deck. Halo: Combat Evolved and ran flawlessly on 60fps besides causing minor hiccups during smoke and fog effects. The controller layout was also set nicely. However, increasing the internal resolution scale from 1x is not advised, resulting in huge frame rate drops.

Ninja Gaiden Black was another title that ran at 60fps, providing “silky smooth gameplay.” Jet Set Radio Future also maintained its 60fps for the most part. Although pressing the boost caused the frame rate to fall roughly. According to the Xemu compatibility list, it is a recognized issue caused by the Xemu emulator and not a fault with Steam Deck.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x also ran successfully without fps issues. Rally Sport Challenge 2 pushed original Xbox hardware to the limit, but it ran smoothly on the Steam Deck. However, many titles also caused hurdles, such as alarming frame rates.

The problems came from the Xemu’s side and most likely had nothing to do with Steam Deck, according to Modern. Conker: Live & Reloaded looked good graphically but ran horribly. Outrun 2 is also not recommended by Modern as it also had a poor frame rate. Modern Kombat Shaolin Monks runs at half the frame rate despite showing 60fps, which is also an emulation issue. 

What are your opinions about the Xemu emulator running Xbox games on Steam Deck? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Shahmeer Sarfaraz


A computer science student with blooming reverence for fantasy titles. Shahmeer is a fairly new News Writer at eXputer. Flourishing his aptitude for writing with one article at a time. When not covering the latest gaming news, Shahmeer can be found farming away in a heavily modded Stardew Valley.

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