Skip to main content


Xbox One as an App platform

With the newly released Xbox One, Microsoft has been very up front with their quest to take over your living room.  One of the main marketing pushes for the Xbox One is that it does more than play games.  It integrates with your cable box, it can multi-task  by snapping apps to the side (similar to how it is done in Windows 8) and it can run other “apps” while playing games.  The pre-installed apps include staples such as Internet Explorer, Sky Drive, Skype, ESPN and Netflix.  The full list of can be found here.
XBox One
There has been a little confusion regarding building apps for the Xbox One.  The operating oystem of the Xbox One is a flavor of Windows 8.1, so some within Microsoft claim that any Windows 8.1 app will run on the Xbox One.  Other reports claim that support for ANY app might not be true.  The reason this has become such a topic of interest is because there is demand!
Is the Xbox One an app platform?
Typically if you develop for a console you are developing a game and require a console dev kit.  These are generally expensive but will allow you to test your game on the console before it is sent off to Microsoft to be certified.  If any Windows 8.1 app can run on the Xbox One, then there is no need for the dev kits.  Or is there?  The short answer is yes, there will always be a need for the dev kit.  The Xbox One is still an embedded platform.  Developers still need to see how their game performs on the actual Xbox One hardware.  There is no getting around that.
But what if you aren’t developing a game?  What if you are developing an app?
If the Xbox One runs a modified version of Windows 8.1 then you can imagine there is a way to emulate some Xbox One features on an existing Windows 8.1 developer workstation.  Better yet, allow developers the ability to create a virtual machine with the Xbox One operating system to test their apps.  Kinect for Windows already exists, so integrating Kinect features could be tested as well.
Ever since Apple TV became a “popular hobby” for Apple, developers have been waiting for the chance to create apps on a  platform they can access your TV.  Prior to the release of the Xbox One, the Apple TV was the closest device for that but the lack of app store has prevented any real innovation.  The Xbox One already has an app store and has multi-tasking functionality to make it a viable platform.  Microsoft will most likely have to institute a certification process for Xbox Apps so they do not hinder the performance of games but that is a small price to pay for developers to gain access to a users television.
Once the Windows Phone, Windows RT and Windows 8 platforms are consolidated, the Xbox One app store will hopefully be open for developers and help facilitate the next Windows App ecosystem boom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Brian ODonnell

More from this Author

Follow Us