Every single Xbox One can be used to make games, Microsoft says—in other words, you can use the next-gen console as your very own development kit.
UPDATE: But not at launch. Microsoft's Marc Whitten just told us that devkit functionality will be added at a later date.
The Xbox 360 was a closed system, but it appears that its successor will be far more open. In a statement to Kotaku today confirming news that leaked earlier on Game Informer, Xbox's corporate vice president Marc Whitten said that all Xbox Ones will function as development kits, which are usually only available to licensed developers.
Here's Microsoft's official comment:
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.
UPDATE: Don't worry—Microsoft assures us that self-published indie games won't be relegated to the wasteland of the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace. There will be one big area to access all kinds of games, Whitten says.
"My goal is for it to just show up in the marketplace," he told us. "Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what's trending, what's got a lot of engagement on the platform. And you'd be able to find that content in any of those. There wouldn't be any difference based on what type of game it was. Then of course there will be other type of pivots where you can go and look at whether its a genre of game or any other. But you shouldn't think of it as there's an indie area and a non-indie area."
Whitten elaborated on ways you can sift through these games:
"Just as today, where we will highlight things that are coming in on the service, we want to make that more discoverable. We'll make it things that we curate as well as the other ways that you find content whether that's what your friends are doing or what we recommend based on your play behavior. Or top listings. We want to make sure we have all of those types of discoverability mechanisms."
As for what the process will be like for gamers and indie developers to publish on the Xbox One, Whitten only shared the basics with us today. He says that it will be a simple process of visiting a website to sign up as a developer to set up your console as a devkit. You'll be able to download the devkit and edit source code on your PC to transfer over to the Xbox One.
No word on any cost to developers, but if you want to charge for your games, Whitten says that pricing will resemble what it does on today's Xbox 360 Marketplace.
Whitten hopes that their certification system required before publishing games on the console will take care of both the technical and policy requirements necessary to ensure that there's no funny business happening with either IP infringement or any policies they might reveal on mature content.
We'll hear the rest of the details from Gamescom, he says.