One of the Xbox One’s key, upcoming features was part of the ID@Xbox program would allow you to turn your Xbox One console into a development kit. Unfortunately, that plan is apparently out the window. Then again, maybe not!
For those unfamiliar, a development kit is pretty much what it sounds like: A set of hardware that Microsoft issues to developers to create new games for that platform. Usually a development kit includes higher-end hardware and custom software that helps developers optimize the game for their platform. They’re also usually quite expensive, and you have to meet certain qualifications to have one. This is why console games are generally a little more stable than PC games and it gives console manufacturers a degree of control over what’s released on the market.
At a recent conference, Martin Fuller of the Xbox Advanced Technology Group said the Xbox One retail units’ dev kit feature was essentially off the table. Only immediately after, Microsoft turned around and said that the feature was still coming. Which does raise the rather important question of, uh… who’s right?
Microsoft’s fans will remember this all situation too well from the various Xbox One initial announcements. Part of the reason that become such a miserable mess was the fact that Microsoft basically couldn’t offer a straight answer. Official said one thing, departments said another, and somebody said something else. Now here we are again, with one of Microsoft’s key people saying something, only to be immediately contradicted by the PR department.
We can’t blame indie developers for being leery of the Xbox One. When your livelihood rests on a game, you want to be sure the platform you put it on will even let you in the door in the first place.