UPDATE: Microsoft’s Jason Ronald has confirmed that they do NOT plan to disable Dev Mode on Xbox.
Microsoft’s Xbox Developer Mode is often used as an exploit by emulation enthusiasts to run various emulation softwares. Reportedly, Microsoft is disabling Dev Mode access on Xbox as noticed by gamers across the internet.
The mode, initially made for game developers to run and test their in-development softwares, proved to be a useful exploit for retro emulation starting in late 2020 when YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer and other users reported this glitch.
Since then gamers have been able to access this mode for just $19 allowing them to transform their Xbox into a classical arcade system with RetroArch, a frontend software for classic console emulators including SNES, GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP emulation, and more.
Reason Why Microsoft is Disabling the Dev Mode
Now, first noticed by a user from the online forum GBATemp and later confirmed by Modern Vintage Gamer, This mode has been revoked for normal users starting 5th January. Microsoft, in an e-mail sent to some affected users, explained;
“We have disabled the Windows and Xbox enrollment of your Microsoft Partner Center account because it did not have an active presence in the store. For reference, see the Developer Code of Conduct which says that an active presence in the Store must be maintained.”
Although a legitimate reason, Microsoft did not provide users with a heads-up or grace period beforehand. This is the reason for disappointment for many, as their $19 investment is now in vain.
This also boosts the motivation for modders to hack the consoles, something that Xbox One has been safe from. As opposed to the PlayStation 4, as previously there wasn’t a need given the sandbox qualities of this dev mode.
Of course, you can still enjoy this mode. If you are a developer actively working to publish a game or software on the Xbox platform; you can enjoy the classic PS2 goodies like God of War and Metal Gear Solid 2. A luxury that even PS5 players are deprived of.