Almost one year ago, Microsoft announced plans to allow every Xbox One to be turned into a developer kit. Since then, the company has undergone several changes and that now includes the axing of plans to allow any retail Xbox One console to be used for game development according to a statement Wednesday.
Update: Microsoft released a statement to Kotaku regarding the change of course with granting the ability to turn Xbox One consoles into dev kits. Basically, Fuller's statement were not correct.
The comments today were inaccurate. We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solution for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One. We will share more details at a later date.
The change in plans was revealed during the Develop conference in Brighton, England by Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller (via DigitalSpy). The subject came up during a Q&A session where he said, "We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa."
"In the end, although that was a very admirable goal, it hasn't happened unfortunately. Can't tell you the specifics of exactly why not."
When pressed on if the feature will ever appear, Fuller said: "As far as I'm aware there are no plans. I'm not aware of the reason why we didn't manage to do that."
It was last July that then Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten said, “"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. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We'll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August."
While indie developer self-publishing did come to fruition with the ID@Xbox program, the ability to turn any Xbox One into a developer kit did not. Instead, Microsoft gave two free Xbox One dev kits to developers who signed up for the program.
It’s important to note that much of the leadership team at Microsoft and Xbox are now elsewhere. Whitten, for example, is with audio company Sonos while Xbox head Don Mattrick left for Zynga and was replaced by Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer. There has been many changes since then including a greater focus on games at E3 versus last year.