Xbox chief Phil Spencer at the Games Developer Conference (GDC) today revealed that Microsoft is launching its Xbox One SDK today to select testers, with plans to let any developer access the SDK in the coming months.
In addition to allowing anyone to become a developer, Microsoft is also revamping its app approval process to make sure it can deal with an expected influx of submissions. It's not entirely clear what sort of functionality Microsoft wants developers to add to Xbox One by opening up app development in this way.
Report says the new apps will be able to run in the background, meaning a music app like Spotify or Rdio can output music even when you're playing a game. There are also question marks over whether the Xbox One SDK will provide access to Kinect, or if the accessory's many cameras and microphones will be off-limits to developers.
It's expected that gamers will be able to reap the benefits of these new, more full-featured applications later this year.
An Xbox Live SDK is "currently in the hands of managed partners," according to Microsoft. "Soon it will be in the hands of a broader set of developers." The SDK also includes access to Xbox Live services, and Microsoft is creating a new tier of Xbox Live that is designed to allow any developer to engage with the Xbox Live community.
Alongside the Xbox One SDK launch, Microsoft is also expanding its ID@Xbox program. While this has been largely targeted at indie developers creating console games, Microsoft is planning to extend this to Windows 10. Indie developers will be able to create games for both Xbox One and PC, and even the company's new HoloLens headset. "It's important to reach gamers wherever they are," says Spencer.