At Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2016, the company announced that every Xbox One console can be turned into a development kit for free.
Obtainable through the Xbox One Preview Program, Xbox Dev Mode can be obtained right now with plans for a complete release in summer. In this mode, anyone can build, test, and experiment with Universal Windows Program (UWP) development. Converting a console to Dev Mode requires no special equipment or fees.
However, to fully access what can be done such as submitting an app to Microsoft marketplaces including the Windows Store and the Xbox Store, a user will need to create a Dev Center account for a one time fee of $19 (around Rs. 1,260).
“Now the Xbox isn’t just for playing, but also for creating awesome content,” said Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox (Microsoft’s indie game developer program) to Polygon. “We’re excited to open the Xbox One to everyone so anyone can get started developing.”
At the moment Xbox Dev Mode only offers access to 448 MB of the Xbox One’s 8 GB of RAM. When it’s available publicly, developers will have access to the full 1 GB of RAM supported for UWP Xbox games.
It’s a smart move from Microsoft to allow a larger section of gamers to tinker around with the Xbox One. It also means, independent developers and smaller studios which have had problems obtaining Xbox One developer kits, can simply start making games with their own retail units. This could potentially allow for a quicker publishing process as Microsoft would not have to dole out specialised developer kits that cost a lot more than a regular Xbox One.
If you’re looking to try this out for yourself keep in mind you’ll need to be a member of the Windows Insider Program, have a PC with Windows 10, have a wired connection between your PC and Xbox One, have the latest version of Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds, as well as having an Xbox One with at least 30GB free.