Phil Spencer Has No Update On Retail Xbox One Units Becoming Development Kits
But he does love the idea.
Before the Xbox One launched, there was a rather intriguing idea doing the rounds- that every single retail Xbox One unit sold would be able to double up as a development kit, effectively allowing every single consumer the console was sold to to become an Xbox One developer. It was a cool idea, and would have probably seen more indie game support for the Xbox One than the console has now- but alas, it never came to be. Like a lot about the Xbox One, good and bad, that was announced before the system’s launch, and lost in the transition to its release, this was another idea that never saw the light of the day.
But Xbox head Phil Spencer hasn’t given up on the plan- or at the very least, he is willing to openly profess his love for it, even as he evades questions about it ever happening.
“I cannot update on that front right now, but I think the idea that you’re talking about is a perfect example of … way back in the day, third-party publishers paid thousands of dollars for console dev kits,” Spencer said in an interview with Polygon. “That clearly kept you and I from starting a game company, because it would soak up most of our money just buying the dev kits.”
“Then, indies were embraced — Sony did a great job, I’m not saying we were unique on this — we had our ID@Xbox program where, when you’re accepted, we sent you two dev kits. Which was a way to say: ‘Go start building games!'” Spencer continued. “We don’t want the price of the hardware to be a barrier. And you can distribute them digitally so you don’t even have to deal with all the retail stuff and make that work.”
He added that he still finds merit in the original idea, though.
“The idea that you and I might just want to riff on something on our own at home and see if we can create something very very easily even before we submit to ID — that makes a lot of sense to me.”
But of course, we still don’t have any official word on if it will ever happen. Perhaps the logistics of it are simply too unfeasible.