The barriers of entry into development for the Xbox One have been high for indie teams, but a leak of the console's software development kit is opening the platform to home-brewed games and apps.
As the world welcomed a new year with champagne and light shows, a group calling itself H4LT set off its own fireworks. The group posted the Xbox One SDK to a Twitter account and invited the world to help itself to Microsoft's intellectual property.
After leaking the latest version of the Xbox One's SDK, individuals claiming affiliation with H4LT told Se7enSins the group is encouraging those who have reverse engineered Windows 8 files to take a crack at Microsoft's latest console.
The Xbox One is basically a simplified version of Windows 8 that uses a new format for packaging files, H4LT said. The packaging format is responsible for updating the Xbox One and archiving game content.
"There is no definite 'exploit,' but from what we have studied and tested, this simple packaging format could possibly lead us to creating Homebrew applications for the Xbox One," states H4LT.
Bemused by its ill-gotten gains, H4LT began tweeting its accomplishment to LizardSquad. LizardSquad has been making a name for itself lately by disrupting the networks of Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox Live.
We now work beside Microsoft as developers. Did you declare that for us? pic.twitter.com/iXkeCwM2fi
— // Microhalt (@notHALT) January 1, 2015
While the SDK leak smashes the barriers of entry to developing for the platform, Xbox One owners will have to mod their consoles to play any of the games cooked up by those outside of Microsoft's indie developer program. Modding will be necessary because the home-brewed games will require digital signatures for authentication by the Xbox One consoles.
For a console that likes to check in with home base, modding would likely result in a ban from Xbox Live by Microsoft. The release of the SDK also gives would-be developers a shot at creating games for the Xbox One, which could be directed through established channels if the projects began to progress into something promising.
Microsoft has previously stated it plans to make it easier for developers to make games for the Xbox One, by enabling the consoles to be converted into development platforms. There was a July 2014 report that indicated Microsoft had abandoned plans to enable development on retail Xbox Ones, but a spokesman reaffirmed the Windows maker's resolve to allow all of the consoles to double as developer tools.
"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," stated a Microsoft spokesperson in July 2014.