Microsoft has been changing nearly every key policy about its Xbox One console since introducing it back in May. This includes dropping the online authentication, making Kinect optional for play rather than a necessity, revamping its indie certification and self-publishing policy, removing region-locking and much more. However, one of the key decisions – the ability to convert a retail Xbox One into a dev kit – was apparently decided two years ago, according to Microsoft Studios Partner Creative Director Ken Lobb in an interview with EDGE.
“So at first we have dedicated devkits [and that’s what we’ll send to developers]. But the existing devkit is just an Xbox that’s locked into development mode. The reason [for the delay] is that there’s some work we had to finish on the back end before we could enable it. But the boxes we ship on day one are all ready to be turned into development kits right away.
“The plan to turn a box into a devkit is [from] two years ago. It had to be. You don’t just decide that we’re just going to unlock the box magically and everyone can run unsecured code. We can do amazing things with this.
One of those things including whitelisting players. “We can whitelist players. We’re doing this with Killer Instinct. I’m going to be shipping characters after we launch and I’m going to invite about 10,000 people to be the ones that help us balance them; the same way that we’ve been inviting Evo people to Double Helix.
“I want to invite 10,000 really great players to help me lock down the balance on those last two characters. The way we do that is sort of like a mini version of what it means to be in devkit mode. What we’ll do is send them a code that’s whitelisted. They’re the only ones that can play it. And, again, you don’t architect that in minutes, this has been planned for years. So, yes, a lot of our ‘alterations’ in the last few months have just been us saying, “Now we get to explain to you [the things] we’ve had in mind all along.”
The Xbox One is currently set to release on November 22nd across 13 territories, with Killer Instinct being a launch title.