Microsoft (finally) turns every Xbox One into a dev kit today

Microsoft (finally) turns every Xbox One into a dev kit today
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

March 31st 2016 at 9:38AM

Early preview build of Dev Mode out now, with full release arriving in summer

A major feature of the Xbox One touted before the console’s launch in 2013 has come to fruition.

Before Microsoft’s console was released, the company revealed that every retail machine would double as a dev kit, opening the doors for budding game creators to build for the platform.

However, the service failed to materialise for years. Until now.

Announcing the launch of Dev Mode for Xbox One at Microsoft’s Build conference, Xbox chief Phil Spencer acknowledged the long road taken.

"We've said from the start we want Xbox One to be a great place for games, and also a great place for developers of all sizes so you can create new games and application experiences,” he said.

“Today, I'm pleased to announce Xbox Dev Mode, giving developers the ability to convert their retail Xbox One into a development kit.”

Xbox software engineering manager Ashley Speicher took to the stage to show how to access the Dev Mode Activation app, which is now accessible through the console’s store.

The currently available preview build of Dev Mode allows creators to utilise up to 448MB of the Xbox One’s 8GB RAM. A subsequent full release in the summer, coinciding with the Windows 10 anniversary update, will expand that usage to up to 1GB.

“The anniversary update will come to your Xbox One, bringing all of your Windows applications into your living room, and enabling you to turn any retail Xbox One into a dev kit,” confirmed Terry Myerson, EVP of Microsoft’s Windows and devices group.

Spencer added that, due to the already established ID@Xbox initiative for indies, he expects Dev Mode to spawn more apps than games.

Those that use Dev Mode to make a game will still need to apply to the ID@Xbox programme and ink a contract with Microsoft before being approved for release on Xbox One.

"Our commitment to turn every Xbox One into a dev kit isn't a hobby – it's a commitment to empower every developer on the planet to reach the largest addressable TV audience on one open app platform,” Spencer said.