by Dave Thier via Forbes

Three years ago, Microsoft made a tantalizing remark about the future of the Xbox One. It was a game console designed to foster creativity and development, the company said, and to that end any retail unit could be converted into a development kit. Microsoft will finally be making good on that promise, it announced at its annual build conference in San Francisco.

“Windows is the best platform for the vast community of game developers,” said Xbox boss Phil Spencer, via The Verge. “Windows is and will continue to be an open development ecosystem where anyone can build, deploy, and service their games and applications.” And those games will run on the whole ecosystem of Windows devices, from smartphones to desktop PCs and the Xbox console.

In order to take advantage, you need to join the Windows 10 insider program, run Windows 10 on a PC that has a wired connection to your Xbox One and have the latest versions of Visual Studio and Windows (via polygon). The feature is available as  preview today, with the major caveat that it wont be fully ready for primetime until sometime in the summer. This doesn’t mean that the Xbox One all of a sudden became as open as Windows: people can make whatever games they want, but anything they do make is subject to the same approval process that games go through now.

 People were excited when Microsoft first talked about this feature,for good reason: democratizing development is a great idea for all involved, allowing all sorts of new, strange projects from unexpected places. Still, it’s going to be hard to know how this will actually impact the software landscape of the Xbox One until the program has been live for a year or so — in an ideal world, the Xbox One could become at least as open as Steam is today. In a less than ideal world, people are making all sorts of games that won’t be able to make it onto Xbox Live and the whole thing skews hobbyist. Microsoft has made big strides in the way it treats indie games since the beginning of this console generation, and so I’m cautiously optimistic for the former.
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