Microsoft has revealed to Digital Spy at the Develop conference in Brighton that they are no longer working on the ability for people to use their retail Xbox One units as development kits. The plan, which was announced in August of 2013, was part of the ID@Xbox program. The policy was made in response to criticism after Microsoft’s E3 conference in the same year, which had a number of controversial points. Instead, any indie developers who sign up for the ID@Xbox program will receive two development consoles.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Microsoft employee Martin Fuller explained that the company had abandoned the idea. “We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa,” said Fuller. “In the end, although that was a very admirable goal, it hasn’t happened unfortunately. Can’t tell you the specifics of exactly why not.” Even when pressed for further information, Fuller still couldn’t reveal exactly why the policy had been reversed, saying: “I’m not aware of the reason why we didn’t manage to do that.” Although the reason was not given, it is likely to be a technical issue that has prevented the idea from being fully implemented.
The ID@Xbox program allows independent developers to work on and release their games on the Xbox One. Anyone signing up to it currently receives development kits and documentation, with the ability to add features that full retail titles have, such as Xbox Live functionality and Achievements. It came as a response to criticism that Microsoft was not doing enough to support independent developers after their reveal of the Xbox One at E3 in 2013. Some developers that have signed up to the program to create games include Double Fine, DrinkBox Studios, Robomodo and Behaviour Interactive.