Microsoft has abandoned plans for Xbox One consoles to double as dev kits

UPDATE: "We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solution."

UPDATE 9/7/14 8pm: Microsoft has issued Eurogamer a statement on today's comments by Xbox's Martin Fuller, which the company now says were "inaccurate".

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

The response suggests that Microsoft is still planning to announce some form of help for indie developers wishing to create games for Xbox, but stops short of condemning Fuller's earlier account as wholly incorrect.

UPDATE 9/7/14 6.15pm: Microsoft is no longer pursuing its plan for all Xbox One consoles to double up as dev kits, the company has said.

The promised feature had been a key part of Microsoft's early overtures to indie developers, but little has been heard on its progress for some time. Today, Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller was quizzed about it during a session at Develop 2014 (thanks, Digital Spy).

"We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa," Fuller explained. "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."

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An early version of the developer settings menu hidden within retail consoles.

When pressed on the matter, Fuller implied that the feature had been dropped entirely.

"As far as I'm aware there are no plans," he added. "I'm not aware of the reason why we didn't manage to do that."

Studios that Microsoft has accepted into its ID@Xbox indie scheme have instead received two free developer kits from Microsoft instead.

A year ago, in July 2013, Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten told Eurogamer that "every Xbox One can be used for development".

"Our vision is that every person can be a creator," he explained. "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."

Further details never appeared, although Xbox One users found they were able to unlock a developer settings menu in their console soon after launch. Microsoft advised against doing so, however, as users who fiddled with the settings there risked bricking their console.

"Changing the settings in this menu is only intended for developers for Xbox One, and this alone does not turn the console into a development kit," a Microsoft spokesperson told us at the time. "We strongly advise consumers against changing these settings as it could result in their Xbox One becoming unusable."

It's unclear how far progress on the feature ever got. An anonymous Xbox One developer writing on Reddit last December suggested that Microsoft had several concerns to do with the implementation of the feature regarding "privacy, security, stability". These "need to be sorted out before we can allow anyone and everyone to simply sideload an app onto their box", the source wrote.

We've contacted Microsoft and asked for more information.

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