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Windows 10 is getting a big “Anniversary Update” this summer, and that’s going to transform your Xbox One.

Microsoft’s gaming console will finally work as a development kit this summer following the major upgrade for the company’s operating system that powers all of its devices. During its Build developers conference in San Francisco today, the company revealed this improvement will hit Windows 10 for free. Microsoft is working to capture a bigger piece of the $99.3 billion gaming industry by approaching it from console, PC, mobile, and future devices like HoloLens. To accomplish that goal, the Windows company is trying to bring more developers into its ecosystem. If it can get more people making games and apps for Xbox One, they could then easily jump to Windows 10 proper, Windows Phone, and HoloLens by using the Universal Windows Platform.

“This update will come to your Xbox One,” Windows devices boss Terry Myerson said during a presentation. “Now it brings all of your Windows applications into your living room and enables you to turn any retail Xbox One into a devkit.”

Turning an Xbox One into a development kit means that anyone who owns the retail unit can start making software for that device. Previously, developers had to reach out to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo directly to lease an official kit from them. That’s a huge hassle for smaller studios, and the update eliminates that.


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In a demo of the Xbox One Dev Mode, Microsoft showed how it could instantly deploy a Photos app for Windows to Xbox One with just a few button presses.

“The good news is that UWP does a lot of the heavy lifting,” Microsoft software engineering manager Ashley Speicher said. “The controller just works.”

Microsoft originally promised before the release of the Xbox One that it would make the system a devkit, but it has taken nearly three years to make that possible.

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