Microsoft: Retail Xbox Ones doubling as dev kits 'still a good idea', but no update yet

Microsoft: Retail Xbox Ones doubling as dev kits 'still a good idea', but no update yet
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

March 1st 2016 at 2:42PM

‘We don't want the price of the hardware to be a barrier,’ reaffirms Xbox chief Phil Spencer

Turning every Xbox One into a development kit is still on the cards, Microsoft has reassured budding creators.

Before the Xbox One launched in 2013, Microsoft suggested that it would one day introduce the ability for any retail Xbox One hardware to double as a platform for first-time devs to find their feet, without having to secure a full traditional dev kit.

Several years on, the idea appeared to have been left behind in the dust.

But that’s not the case, a new Polygon interview with Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revealed.

Prodded about the current status of the ambitious initiative, Spencer joked: “That's a good idea, right there! That's a good idea!"

"I cannot update on that front right now,” he added, “but I think the idea that you're talking about is a perfect example of– way back in the day, third-party publishers paid thousands of dollars for console dev kits.

"That clearly kept you and I from starting a game company, because it would soak up most of our money just buying the dev kits.

"Then, indies were embraced – Sony did a great job, I'm not saying we were unique on this. We had our ID@Xbox program where, when you're accepted, we sent you two dev kits. Which was a way to say: ‘Go start building games.’”

Spencer reaffirmed his belief that opening up development to a mass audience is still the aim.

"We don't want the price of the hardware to be a barrier,” he said. “And you can distribute them digitally so you don't even have to deal with all the retail stuff and make that work.

"The idea that you and I might just want to riff on something on our own at home and see if we can create something very easily even before we submit to ID — that makes a lot of sense to me."

Thanks, Polygon.