Xbox One can now be turned into a dev kit via preview – but be careful if you try it

By Stephany Nunneley, Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:46 GMT

During today’s Microsoft Build 2016 event it was revealed that Xbox One can now be turned into a dev kit. But there’s a word of warning attached to this bit of news.


The preview of developer mode will be available later today with a full feature release coming with the Anniversary update to Windows 10 this summer.

Microsoft showed attendees today how to switch the console over to developer mode using Apps downloaded from the Xbox Store. Once the console user has registered as a developer, the Dev Mode Activation App alongside one called Dev Home can be used to switch the console over to dev kit mode and back.

Users will be able to build and test Universal Windows Apps and games on their retail Xbox One console. Because Dev Mode is in a preview environment, the firm said it recommend’s that only “experienced developers” use Dev Mode at this time.

Because of how the preview build will change the way the console operates, at this time it’s possible content currently downloaded will be removed. So keep that in mind.

That said, Microsoft sent over a list of things you need to know before joining the preview:

  1. You cannot join the Xbox Dev Mode developer preview if you are currently enrolled in any other Xbox One preview group, this includes the Xbox One System Update Preview Program. You can opt-out of the System Update Preview Program through the Xbox Preview Dashboard app.
  2. You must first join the Windows Insider Program and download the latest Windows Insider SDK Preview release on a Windows 10 PC.
  3. You must download and install Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 on your Windows 10 PC.
  4. Download and run the Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox store on your console to gain access to the Dev Mode software that will be made available to you as a member of the Dev Preview Group.
  5. When you run the app you will receive an activation code.
  6. Create a Windows Developer Center account through a PC web browser here. This requires a one-time cost of $19 USD for a personal account. Accept the terms and conditions, and enter that activation code; this gives your Xbox One the entitlement to join the Dev Preview Group.
  7. Your console will download a system update and may reboot during installation.
  8. Once downloaded, go back to the Dev Mode Activation app to finish activating Dev Mode on your retail Xbox One, transforming it into a dev kit; your console will reboot again and the process will be complete.
  9. While your retail console is in Dev Mode, you will not be able to run your existing Xbox One games or apps. To play your games or apps again, disable Dev Mode to return the console into Retail Mode and play again.

Microsoft announced in July 2013 it would eventually allow Xbox One to be used as a dev kit, but new on when the feature would be made available faded into the background. Many thought Microsoft would announce the release date for the feature at Build 2015 last April, but it seems the firm held on for another year.

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