Start building for XBOX ONE - NOW!!!


I recently attended the ID@XBOX event to get the low down on what it means to be a developer for the new XBOX, more specifically how to be an Indie on the new XBOX One. Now what was said behind those hallowed doors was under NDA but what I can say is that if you want to build games for the XBOX One (or even apps!!!) you can get started now, no matter who you are!


Recently, a mail was sent round to all devs who registered for the ID program (if you didn’t get it but thought you should have, then contact ID support from the site below) which gave some “hush hush” info about what’s being done and what is coming, along with that was promised a Spark beta key for ID program members.

Today @ID_XBOX announced on twitter that the keys should be rolling out any day now, what made this even better was that Project Spark(@Proj_Spark) quickly rose up with a nice clarification that the keys would also be valid for the Xbox One spark beta as well, rock’in.

The ID@XBOX Program

First off, if you are not signed up to the ID@XBOX program, then get registered now. Do not worry about if you have enough games to qualify or how good you are, just get in the program. It is the fist checkpoint for getting your account on the new “indie” service that Microsoft is promoting now.

It is very unlikely you are going to get dev kits to build with but not to worry as Microsoft repeatedly states that EVERY XBOX One will be able to run as a dev kit – SO LONG AS YOU ARE ON THE PROGRAM!.

So get yourself to:

And get registered!

Start Building NOW!

Now as the the article suggests there s NOTHING stopping you from getting started building your XBOX One game (or app??) right now.

Here are the two paths you can take:



It is no surprise or shock that Unity3D will be fully supported for building XBOX One games, when you are accepted on the program every developer will receive A Unity3D Pro license for developing and shipping a game to the new XBOX One store.


There is NOTHING stopping you getting started right now by downloading the FREE version of Unity3D and starting to make your game straight away. By the time you are ready with your game you will need to complete your ID@XBOX registration and get your Unity3D Pro key to then finalise your game and get access to the extra XBOX Live features that will come with it.

SO Learn Unity3D, build your game and be ready to publish when you get the green light.


Windows 8 games built using C++

It should come as no shock that the other platform on the XBOX is C++ based, it is how console games have been built for years by the big studios. C++ is Microsoft’s big story for how you should build you project to be cross platform, for the XBOX One is is no different. Well not different except for one little twist.


You can start building your XBOX One game using C++ / DirectX NOW by creating a Windows 8 Direct3D App project using the template provided in Visual Studio 2012.

When you are registered and get the SDK/XDK you will get the additional bits to publish and test to the XBOX One.

To help you along there are also the DirectXTK and DirectXTex libraries which are open source already prepped to work in the XBOX One.

So What are you waiting for?


  • I am waiting for my UnityPro code – Do not need it just start with FREE or any other Pro version for now
  • I am waiting for my dev kit – Do not need it, start building and just recompile / deploy for the XBOX One when you get the bits
  • I am waiting for my registration to ID@XBOX to be accepted – Do not wait just start now while you are waiting
  • I am waiting for someone to tell me what kind of game to make – Sorry cannot help you there. Minecraft?

Hints and tips to make a successful game for XBOX One


A lot of marketing and bump was shelled out at the event, some good, some brilliant, some err, well lets just say it was information.

but here is what I took away from it:

  • Make your game engaging! – fairly obvious but don’t build just any old platformer or shooter, to get noticed STAND OUT
  • Use latest features – It was stated that if you use the SmartGlass features you will surely be noticed!! but the same goes for other features. Look at existing titles for examples
  • Think beyond the controller – Play some XBO One games and see what they have done with other control schemes, use voice, use gesture, use your head!
  • Think about companion scenarios and apps – go beyond just your game, how else can you engage the user. Some games will physically call you in the game to give you info!

Now do not forget, unlike the X360 Indie program (XBLIG), the ID@XBOX process is officially curated by Microsoft, there will be an approval process to validate the quality, stability and price of your game before it is approved to go on to the marketplace. We’re informed that it will not be over heavy and it is more about helping you get your game ready for market. Essentially Microsoft will be your publisher for getting your game to the marketplace.

Get out there and build NOW!!


Comments welcome but know that I am limited about what I can say about the program, basically if it is not on the ID@XBOX website, I cannot likely say more Open-mouthed smile

And if you have not signed up yet!

Simon (darkside) Jackson

Simon (darkside) Jackson

Engineer, industry executive, research enthusiast. Avid learner with diverse interests in coding, game development, Mixed Reality (AR/VR/XR) and reinforcement learning. 25+ years of experience working in multinational corporations and startups.


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