How to turn your Xbox One into a dev kit with Xbox Dev Mode

Microsoft has finally lived up to its nearly three-year-old promise to Xbox One gamers by announcing that it will open up developer options on all Xbox One consoles with its Anniversary Update.

How to turn your Xbox One into a dev kit with Xbox Dev Mode

Unveiled during Microsoft’s Build developer conference, Xbox Dev Mode is available today in preview form, with a full release scheduled for this summer. The preview build opens up the opportunity for anyone to build, test and experiment with Universal Windows Platform app development via their Xbox One.

Currently Xbox Dev Mode can only utilise 448MB of the Xbox One’s 8GB of RAM. On release, this will increase to the full 1GB that supported UWP Xbox games have access to.

How to access Xbox Dev Mode

Getting into Xbox Dev Mode isn’t as complicated as it sounds and, even in its current preview state, anyone can sign up to test it out. Here’s what you need to do before you start:

  1. Download the Dev Mode activation app from Xbox Games Store

  2. Join the Windows Insider Program

  3. Have the latest version of Windows 10 running on your PC

  4. Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One

  5. Have the latest version of Visual Studio 2015

  6. Have a minimum of 30GB free on your Xbox One

The Dev Mode app handily warns you that retail Xbox One games may not run properly. It’s also worth noting that you’ll have to reset your console to factory settings – thus uninstalling your games, apps and content – if you decide to leave Dev Mode.

So, it’s clear that Xbox Dev Mode isn’t for your casual curious budding developer.

Once you’ve agreed to those terms, scary as they may be, you’ll be given a code to enter into your computer once you’ve signed in to your newly created Dev Centre account. You’ll probably have to update your console during the activation process.

With Dev Mode now set up, you simply have to pair your Xbox One with Visual Studio on your PC. The Xbox won’t show up as an Xbox One, so instead look for a Windows 10 device – remember, you need a wired connection between your PC and Xbox One for this to work.

After you’ve made your PC recognise your Xbox as a device in Visual Studio, you’re ready to start developing apps and games in Unity, Visual Studio Community or whatever you so please.

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