When Microsoft announced Xbox One three years ago, it said that it planned to let owners of its next-gen game console use their boxes as “dev kits,” allowing them to create and test their own Xbox One games.
At its Build conference, Microsoft said that this will finally happen today, although it is not quite what you might have expected. An update to the Xbox One today will allow anyone to connect their Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC, develop Universal Windows Platform apps, and run them on their Xbox. Polygon got an advanced deep dive on the program, and reports that it has several restrictions, most notably the fact that developers can only access 1 GB of the Xbox One’s 8 GB of RAM.
So while that is technically turning the Xbox One into a dev kit, it won’t let you create full-on Xbox One game experiences—for that, you’ll still have to go through the standard procedures through Microsoft and get actual developer hardware. (You also will still have to go through Microsoft’s standard “concept approval” phase if you want to publish your game on the Xbox One, although no one ever suggested otherwise.)
If you’re already developing a Universal Windows App and want to test it on an Xbox One, this is great news for you. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like much of a change from the status quo ante.