Microsoft Doesn't Have An Update On Retail Devkit Promise
One of the items we noticed was missing from Microsoft's E3 press conference was news about the long-promised developer kit feature. Before the Xbox One was released, Microsoft told us that the company would be able to whitelist units for added functionality.
It's been two years since that commitment and there hasn't yet been traction. Microsoft also won't offer a specific timetable of when it will be delivered, either.
"Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live," former Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten told us in July 2013.
During an interview with corporate vice president Kudo Tsunoda today, we asked about the status of this feature. "It's one of the things as we reach out to fans and community for feedback," he says. "Just like you saw with backward compatibility, which is one of those things we didn't know was possible when we launched but we're able to bring to market now. It's a highly requested feature from a lot of people. We're very focused on delivering to fans and gamers the things they want to get. We don't have a status update on it now, but it's a highly requested feature."
When Microsoft confirmed this upcoming feature, the idea was to foster a community of creators – people who could tinker with Xbox One development. After two years with no status updates, I have to wonder if Microsoft has changed its mind.
If so, the company should talk about it. There are a number of questions we had two years ago about piracy, access to the toolkit, and security. Microsoft is growing a healthy indie community, and might no longer see the devkit option as a necessary measure. We don't know exactly why it hasn't happened yet, but we're eager to learn more about whether this is something still on the roadmap.