Xbox One DevMode and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app development for everyone!

One of the things I’m lucky enough to do at work is show up at the //build/ conference, and talk to developers and publishers about what’s coming to the Xbox One platform, along with news for Windows, Azure, and our range of developer tools. This year was a banner year for us and our partners, because we announced two exciting changes to the Xbox One platform that promise to open up app development to a broader community than ever before.

Starting today, anyone can enable Developer Mode (aka DevMode) on their Xbox One console and use Visual Studio to develop Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications that they can run on their PC, Windows Phone and/or Xbox One. Come summer, you’ll be able to submit them for publication in the Windows Store, opening up a worldwide audience of consoles for your creation. As part of the //build/ experience, we offered attendees the chance to get hands-on with consoles converted to DevMode – here they are:

Xbox One at //build/ 2016
Xbox One at //build/ 2016

If you’re interested in getting started, here’s some information that will help you get going:

You need to be running Windows 10 on your dev. computer, with Visual Studio 2015 Update 2, the Windows 10 SDK preview build 14295, and some associated tools and accounts. There’s a great guide on what to install and where from here, in the guide to “Set up your UWP on Xbox development environment

Before you follow that guide, take a moment to register as an App Developer – this costs around $19 for an individual account depending on where you are in the world. Company accounts are also available. You’ll need to sign into the Windows Dev Center with this account to enable DevMode on your Xbox One during the setup process.

You should also join the Windows Insider Program, as you’ll need to be a member of this program to get access to the Windows 10 SDK preview build 14295 that you need to target Xbox One.

Take a look at the article that describes how to set up Xbox One DevMode activation – it’s a pretty straightforward process to flip your console into DevMode, but note that once you activate it on your console you can’t play or use regular retail games or apps while you’re in the mode. You can change back again when you like, but if you’re in the mood for a quick Halo or Netflix session, you’ll likely become a bit annoyed at having to switch back and forth.

And finally – there’s always “and finally” with announcements like this – I have to put my hand up and say “I’m a Microsoft employee”. This is a big day for my team, so I hope you don’t mind me blowing our trumpet Smile

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