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Microsoft reaffirms commitment to let retail Xbox One units to be used as developer consoles (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Update: The comments by a Microsoft engineer regarding the company dropping plans to allow for Xbox One consoles to be used for game development were "inaccurate," a Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon today.

"The comments today were inaccurate. We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solutions for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One. We will share more details at a later date," said the Microsoft representative.

Gamasutra reports that during an ID@Xbox panel at Develop yesterday, program director Chris Charla was asked about the feature, and replied, "We're not there yet."

Original story: Microsoft is no longer planning to allow retail Xbox One consoles to double as developer kits, said Microsoft's Martin Fuller during Develop Conference 2014, reports Digital Spy.

Last July, Xbox corporate vice president Marc Whitten announced that Microsoft would allow developers to self-publish their games on Xbox One, and would eventually update the console so that "every Xbox One can be used for development." Game makers usually have to pay thousands of dollars for specific hardware known as developer kits, but this would have allowed anybody to spend $499 (now $399) on a retail Xbox One and start making games. In interviews with Polygon following Whitten's announcement, experienced developers praised Microsoft for the plan.

That feature was to be made available in a developer settings menu, which did exist in some pre-launch versions of retail units, but Whitten told Polygon that it wouldn't be available until after the Xbox One's launch in November. Now it appears that the dev kit option won't be coming at all.

"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," said Martin Fuller, a senior engineer in the Advanced Technology Group for Xbox, during a panel at Develop, which runs from July 8-10 in Brighton, U.K.

"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," he added, upon being asked if the feature is still in the cards.

This is the latest in a series of policy reversals on Microsoft's part regarding the Xbox One. Shortly after E3 2013, the company announced that it was dropping its plans to require a daily network check-in for all games and limit the ability of customers to play used games. And this past May, Microsoft took the Kinect out of the Xbox One package and set the price of the stand-alone console at $399 instead of $499 for the bundle — after saying forever that the camera was "integral" to the console.

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.

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