We're taking an in-depth technical look at one of the Xbox 360's features, its hypervisor. The Xbox 360 contains a hypervisor to provide security for the system--good news for Microsoft, bad news for hackers, as Microsoft has included it as part of its plans for a hack-proof 360. What are the implications of this for gamers and for those who wish to experiment with their console?
Firstly, a look at how the processor executes code on the 360. The Xbox 360's CPU is based around the PowerPC architecture, which is well-suited to virtualisation. The hypervisor is a program on the system which can provide the operating system with virtual hardware or limit its access to memory, so a program running on top of a hypervisor thinks it is running inside a single virtual machine and talking directly to the hardware, rather than within another operating system.