Xbox One devkit functionality decided “years ago”

3 min read


The Xbox One, as you know by now, will allow just about everyone to make games on the thing, as it’ll have a mode than enables devkit functionality. Many believe it to be something reactionary, based on the Xbox One’s initially poor indie showing. Microsoft says that’s just not the case; which is weird, considering that functionality  will have to patched in, and wont be available when the console is released.

“So at first we have dedicated devkits [and that’s what we’ll send to developers], “ Microsoft’s Ken Lobb told Edge. “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.”

He says the decision was made two years ago to make all Xbox One’s Devkits; and also mentioned something that we’ve been wondering; Players can be whitelisted to run unsigned code, much in the ay that we’re able to run unsigned code on our Xbox 360 debugging unit. for one, it could allow us to get Xbox One reviews up a little quicker. It’ll also allow MS to do more beta testing with its games, by letting actually gamers playtest for them

“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. 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.””

I just wonder if Microsoft is opening itself up to some pretty easy piracy; I’m sure hacker-types will try and chip away at the security around the ability to run unsigned code, in the hopes of opening the Xbox One right up.

If you’ll recall, the original Xbox was a hacker’s dream, and could run all manner of cool unsigned code, even birthing one of the most widely used and most configurable bits of media-playing software ever made; XBMC.

Last Updated: October 2, 2013

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