Over the years it’s become easier to break into the world of video game development. Virtually anyone can develop a game for the PC, and release it into the wild. However, getting your game onto a console is a whole different story, as you need a dev kit in order to do so. Well thanks to a recent announcement from Microsoft, you likely already have an Xbox One dev kit sitting in your house.
Three years ago, Microsoft announced that they wanted to give every Xbox One owner the opportunity to turn their console into a development kit. So much time has passed that many people may have forgotten about this promise. However, as of right now, you can opt into the preview program, which will allow you to build, test, and develop Universal Windows Programs.
The process of turning your Xbox One into a dev kit is actually rather simple, and is technically free. I say technically, because you will need to sign up for a Dev Center account, which only sets you back $19. Aside from that, it’s only a matter of downloading the Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox Games Store.
In order to take full advantage of your new dev kit, you’ll need to make sure that you have a few things ready. Here’s the prep list that you’ll need to check off before you go ahead and switch things over:
- Join the Windows Insider Program
- Are running Windows 10 on your PC
- Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One
- Install the latest Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds
- Have at least 30 GB of storage free on your console
Now, while it’s possible to go ahead and start using your console in dev kit mode, Microsoft doesn’t actually recommend doing it just yet. The preview is there for testing purposes, but may actually cause some issues. Plus, you’re only going to have access to 448 MB of RAM for development. Once the release version comes out this summer, you’ll get access to the full 1 GB of RAM that is supported by UWP games.
Keep in mind that once you’ve converted your Xbox over to a dev kit, you may also run into some issues when playing retail games. Also, if you want to switch your Xbox One back to a regular non-dev kit, you’ll need to do a factory reset. This means that you’ll lose everything currently saved on it, including all of your installed games.