The Xbox One retail box will act as a dev kit, allowing developers and gamers alike to play in-progress code...but not at launch, apparently. That news comes from today's Microsoft event at Gamescom 2013, where Microsoft detailed its ID@Xbox program. After an approval process, indie devs will receive to dev kits free of cost from Microsoft -- the program is Microsoft's first phase of a multi-tiered approach to self-publishing on its Xbox One. Xbox VP Marc Whitten explained Microsoft's approach to Engadget in a recent interview:
"It's more of a timeframe thing. The vision of how the service and the console work together, how your console can be a dev kit, is a core part of the vision. It's how we built a ton of the architecture. But moving from a low-scale -- a small number of developers -- to a large scale, there's just more work to do there."
Whitten wouldn't give an exact timing on when Xbox One retail consoles will get development kit functionality. We'll keep putting the question to him and Microsoft as the year goes on.