Xbox 360 references discovered in Windows 8 kernel

By Tom Warren, on 12th Jul 11 1:41 pm with 67 Comments

Microsoft is currently working on building Xbox LIVE support into Windows 8, but could the company also be building in support for Xbox 360 games on PC?

A number of rumors have surfaced over the last few weeks concerning Xbox gaming in Windows 8. Microsoft confirmed that the company plans to build Xbox LIVE into the PC and into Windows 8. Mike Delman, Microsoft’s vice president of global marketing in the interactive entertainment business unit, revealed the company’s plans in an interview last month. The latest rumor, comes via insideris.com. The site suggests that Xbox 360 games will be playable on Windows 8 PCs.

The rumors may be spot on if references to the Xbox 360 in Windows 8 are anything to go by. Italian site win8italia has discovered several strings that reference the Xbox 360 system inside the Windows 8 kernel. “XBOX_360_SYSTEM_CRASH” and “XBOX_360_SYSTEM_CRASH_RESERVED” are present in ntoskrnl.exe, part of the Windows NT kernel. The strings don’t verify that Microsoft is planning support for Xbox 360 games on PC but they could hint at much tighter integration between Xbox 360 systems and Windows 8.

Xbox 360 references in Windows 8

  • Anonymous

    I figured this would be obvious to have a consistent code base across all platforms :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

    Wouldn’t be too far fetched to think the next XBOX will have multiple hardware partners, makes sense if they stick to the minimum spec.

    • GP007

      I don’t see the need for that, and game devs probably wouldn’t like to mess with different hardware for a game console.   Besides when you’re ordering in the volumes of chips MS does for the 360 you get a very good deal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

    Wouldn’t be too far fetched to think the next XBOX will have multiple hardware partners, makes sense if they stick to the minimum spec.

  • http://twitter.com/DennisCode Den Delimarsky

    Really? What this most likely is – just a reference to possible Xbox 360 + Windows 8 connectivity as in “share media content”

    • http://twitter.com/yardmanflex yardmanflex

      I agree…this i think is more media related.

    • GP007

      Why would media related work be in the kernel though?  That’s really all user level stuff, I think it could be something more than just sharing media better.  

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      DLNA is about as deep as media gets, and that is just a driver.

      I agree it’s something much more substantial, about to look into it now.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      DLNA is about as deep as media gets, and that is just a driver.

      I agree it’s something much more substantial, about to look into it now.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      DLNA is about as deep as media gets, and that is just a driver.

      I agree it’s something much more substantial, about to look into it now.

    • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

      DLNA is actually userspace stuff, it doesn’t need to be anywhere near the kernel.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      DLNA is about as deep as media gets, and that is just a driver.

      I agree it’s something much more substantial, about to look into it now.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Indeed, that’s far more likely.

    • GP007

      I’d like to see the ability to control a Windows PC through the Xbox as well.  Media shareing is there already, to an extent (media center etc) But since we’re going to have the same UI in a sense why not hit up a remote desktop option?

    • http://twitter.com/DennisCode Den Delimarsky

      Once again – think of the purpose of an Xbox. It’s an entertainment hub, not a full-fledged PC.

    • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

      Yes, seems more media sharing related which is a good thing.  WMC is nice but it could use some work.  It would be awesome if the integration were more seemless/faster.  I’d like to be in WMC and still feel like I’m using the Xbox dashboard rather than a separate application.

    • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

      Yes, seems more media sharing related which is a good thing.  WMC is nice but it could use some work.  It would be awesome if the integration were more seemless/faster.  I’d like to be in WMC and still feel like I’m using the Xbox dashboard rather than a separate application.

  • http://twitter.com/DennisCode Den Delimarsky

    Really? What this most likely is – just a reference to possible Xbox 360 + Windows 8 connectivity as in “share media content”

  • Anonymous

    I for one, like this news so much.. I hope that xbox games playable on pc will come true!! that way, people have no boundary on xbox/pc.. not to mention recently released kinect sdk!!

    • http://twitter.com/DennisCode Den Delimarsky

      That would defeat the entire purpose of Xbox. Integration can come in different ways, not necessarily through cross-platform interactive content compatibility. There are PC games, and there are Xbox games. What might happen is provide a better layer to organize the interop between these two, and that’s about it.

    • Anonymous

      A link between XBOX and PC gaming would be great, certain categories of games would be just fine to have a way to play against others across the two platforms.  At the minimum I would like a tightly integrated chat service across both XBOX and PC.

    • Anonymous

      A link between XBOX and PC gaming would be great, certain categories of games would be just fine to have a way to play against others across the two platforms.  At the minimum I would like a tightly integrated chat service across both XBOX and PC.

    • Anonymous

      A link between XBOX and PC gaming would be great, certain categories of games would be just fine to have a way to play against others across the two platforms.  At the minimum I would like a tightly integrated chat service across both XBOX and PC.

    • Anonymous

      A link between XBOX and PC gaming would be great, certain categories of games would be just fine to have a way to play against others across the two platforms.  At the minimum I would like a tightly integrated chat service across both XBOX and PC.

  • Skittish

    Though currently rumored as dead, along with Silverlight and WPF, version 4.0 of the .NET Framework includes a ‘platform id’ enumeration, defined as follows:

    Member nameDescriptionWin32SThe operating system is Win32s. Win32s is a layer that runs on 16-bit versions of Windows to provide access to 32-bit applications.Win32WindowsThe operating system is Windows 95 or Windows 98.Win32NTThe operating system is Windows NT or later.WinCEThe operating system is Windows CE.UnixThe operating system is Unix.XboxThe development platform is Xbox 360.MacOSXThe operating system is Macintosh.

    • Still Skittish

      Though currently rumored as dead, along with Silverlight and WPF, version 4.0 of the .NET Framework includes a ‘platform id’ enumeration, defined as follows:Member name     Description

      Win32S                The operating system is Win32s. Win32s is a layer that runs on 16-bit versions
                                   of Windows to provide access to 32-bit applications.

      Win32Windows    The operating system is Windows 95 or Windows 98.

      Win32NT              The operating system is Windows NT or later.

      WinCE                  The operating system is Windows CE.

      Unix                      The operating system is Unix.

      Xbox                     The development platform is Xbox 360.

      MacOSX               The operating system is Macintosh.     

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

      .NET is far from dead. You’ll actually see .NET integrating with the OS much more tightly in Windows 8. 

      On the other hand, Silverlight and WPF may be dead, but before they died they hooked up and made a faster, leaner, native XAML-based UI framework baby, and they named it DirectUI.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

      .NET is far from dead. You’ll actually see .NET integrating with the OS much more tightly in Windows 8. 

      On the other hand, Silverlight and WPF may be dead, but before they died they hooked up and made a faster, leaner, native XAML-based UI framework baby, and they named it DirectUI.

    • Not So Sure…

    • Not So Sure…

    • Not So Sure…

  • Anonymous

    The insideris rumor is old, this is most likely a media share reference.

  • http://twitter.com/quentez Quentin Calvez

    Seems difficult to believe that Windows 8 could run Xbox360 games knowing the differences between the Xbox hardware (Custom PowerPC CPU) and most X86 PCs.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      You might think so, but technology has leap several fold since the time when the XBox 360 was released.   In 2005 I never would have imagined quad core processers or multi-core phones, but here we are.

      NVidia’s Kal-El could be Microsoft’s secret weapon in the tablet wars and if they can get traditional XBox branded games running on a Kal-El based tablet it would be killer.

    • Guest

      I think the bigger concern is providing a level-playing field especially in terms of controllers.  I recall an article about Microsoft having to pull the integration between PC and XBOX versions of a FPS because the keyboard+mouse control method was deemed to give PCs users an unfair advantage in terms of speed of targeting and accuracy.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      For FPS games sure, but I can’t think of any other type of game that would have a greater advantage with a mouse and keyboard.

      Maybe they are planning on doing something similar to Nintendo Wii U where the tablet can act as an extension to the console.

      I think what’s more important is the Xbox branding and keeping gaming and XBox live consistent across Xbox, PC, & Phone.

    • http://twitter.com/tonycubed Tony

      You couldn’t of imagined having ‘quad core’ processors?  Even though the PowerPC CPU in the 360 has 3 cores?

  • Jackberger

    I am a bit concerned that the first refrerences found refer to crashes.

    • Test1ngi23

      They’re just trying to keep true to their roots.

  • Jackberger

    I am a bit concerned that the first refrerences found refer to crashes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

    I very much doubt that Microsoft would make Xbox 360 games playable on the PC. They’d have to JIT PowerPC instructions to x86/ARM, and they’d have all kinds of issue with people trying to play games on computers that simply aren’t powerful enough.

    It’s more likely that future updates to the Xbox will actually run on the same kernel as Windows. Eventually Microsoft will run the cloud, the desktop, gaming/entertainment consoles, and the phone all on one underlying OS.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      I doubt they will *emulate* XBox on Windows 8, but technically since XBox games are written in XNA/.Net all games get JITed based on the CPU you’re running on.  Unless they are doing something special for XBox.

      All they would need is a minimum number of requirements for an “XBox enabled PC”.  Similer to the minimum requirements to run Aero in Windows.   Technology is inevitably going to take another leap next year with the next generation quad core mobile processors from NVidia.

      It would be a huge win for Microsoft and NVidia if this is something that could be done for the first generation Windows 8 tablets running Kal-El.  Especially if they can emulate the Xbox controller with onscreen controls.

    • Test1ngi23

      SOME Xbox games are written in .NET, but definitely not all. The .NET based ones could probably be trivially ported but the native code ones would most likely need some major changes.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      Ah I see, I guess that goes to the rumours that Windows team is not happy with the performance of .Net so they are focusing back on C++ for Windows 8 development.

    • Seb

      Xbox games are not written in .NET/XNA except the Indie Games and some Xbox Live Arcade games perhaps. Others are written in plain old C/C++ with the XDK. Check out the wikipedia article : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_Development_Kit

    • Adam Bloomfield

      Emulating an Xbox controller on-screen would look and feel ridiculous. It’s one thing to have a couple buttons and a d-pad, but a complete 360 controller is pretty impractical. 

      I’d imagine that, running Windows and possessing a usb plug, you could just plug a controller in.

    • Adam Bloomfield

      Emulating an Xbox controller on-screen would look and feel ridiculous. It’s one thing to have a couple buttons and a d-pad, but a complete 360 controller is pretty impractical. 

      I’d imagine that, running Windows and possessing a usb plug, you could just plug a controller in.

    • Waker

      Well, you don’t have to emulate anything at all.

      Just do a HLE translation of the entire executable’s contents. A sort of “dump” of the executable can be translated over to x86 using some pre-built functions (a sort of framework).

      This is what Win8 does now, iirc.

    • GP007

      I thought it was clear that the 360 ran on a tweaked NT kernel already?   But why would something that runs on a gaming console have code in the desktop kernel version?  

    • Test1ngi23

      Portions of a shared codebase.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11814278 Chris Woelfel

    Or it could be referencing stuff with XNA games that deploy to 360…because they do crash.

  • Anonymous

    It’s unlikely but…Microsoft could make a select number of emulated Xbox 360 titles available for download to Win8 machines via Live. They could use this to entice people to upgrade to Windows 8 and to subscribe to Xbox Live on PC. PC vs Console multiplayer!

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    Maybe they’re just unifying the kernels all across their platforms. Since there’s also that popular notion that WP8 is going to be NT based.

    Because I don’t see why the NT kernel would require XBox related STOP codes (the ones you’ll see on a bluescreen of death), if it’s all just about network based content sharing as assumed elsewhere in the comments.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      Agreed. I’m dying to look into it further.

  • Asd

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    what the fuck are you doing

  • Goodgame

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    what the fuck are you doing

    • Test1ngi23

      Probably padding bytes in the EXE binary.

  • Anonymous

    *Suddenly thought about being able to play some on-demand 360 games on a W8 tablet using cloud storage*

    Killer.  App.

  • Anonymous

    this sounds good. for any reason they use it it might be useful and good, specially when you see PC games now in xbox.com. so xbox as a brand will be cool for win8.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yasser.syed Yasser Syed

    Rebirth of PC gaming ??
    Hope we can atleast see some top games coming back to PC
    GOW
    Halo  etc etc
    MS atleast bring us the best games to PC :)

    We want AOE- IV ….. :D

  • http://twitter.com/jasonc1991 Jason Choi

    no more chatting with the console! USe the keybard and ppl would think that you are hacking!

  • http://twitter.com/jasonc1991 Jason Choi

    no more chatting with the console! USe the keybard and ppl would think that you are hacking!

  • Anonymous

    I’m starting to think we will be able to stream Xbox to your PC. Kind of like OnLive, but on your local network..

  • Jonnyjon91

    Or, here’s a thought, maybe it’s for the Next Xbox. We know they aren’t afraid to ditch hardware and Xbox Live is the real console.

  • DomCheetham

    Maybe its down to Windows 8 eco system, which includes Xbox. So The next Xbox (720) will use a cut down windows 8 or 9 or somthing.

  • http://www.egamebiz.com/kinect-floor-stand-for-xbox-360.html Neda Przybylski

    ng at the thought – “becauva, you could take your pi” Wishart said, shrewdly cstyled formation Zhenshi. myself to forget the truthk she’s really dead?”

  • derp

    Has anyone responding
    to this ever written software for a x86 PC? or a power pc cpu? ever
    heard of endianess? Even if they made an emulator 360 games would run
    like crap on a PC

    And its not just the executables, the media (sound, video, etc) would need byteswapped everywhere. fail.