Build 2016: You can finally use your retail Xbox One as a dev kit


Microsoft is bridging the gap between gamers and developers. Today, the Redmond-based company announced that every Xbox One retail console could be transformed into a development kit that can be used to make games and apps with a click of a button.

It’s a feature Xbox Chief Phil Spencer promised when the Xbox One debuted back in 2013, and confirmed earlier this morning at Microsoft’s Build 2016 developer conference.

During a brief on-stage demo, the audience at the Moscone Center in San Francisco watched a developer seamlessly go from playing a game on her Xbox One to testing a Universal Windows App in real time.

To enable this, Spencer said, requires syncing your Microsoft developer account and Xbox One. Once paired, you’ll see a “Dev Mode” option appear in your Xbox One home feed.

Developers can then switch back and forth between the two modes.

Xbox One Dev Kit

The converging of the development side and consumer side is exciting, potentially driving more gamers to become developers and, eventually, create the next wave of great indie titles.

Microsoft’s strategy for Xbox One differs from the one it took with the Xbox 360, which had two separate types of consoles – one for developers and one for gamers.

This meant that every time a new developer sprang up they needed to reach out to Microsoft directly to apply for developer units, a slow and potentially tedious process if you’ve never shipped a game before.

Spencer’s announcement today is perhaps the best indication of Microsoft’s revitalized commitment to the indie development community and, if nothing else, is a great incentive for layman gamers to learn to code.

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