Microsoft has reportedly been disabling developer mode access on various Xbox One and Series X/S consoles. On January 4, 2022, a thread on GBAtemp.com alerted the community using the program that a user had been locked out. This resulted in other dev mode activators checking and subsequently finding out that they had been kicked from the program.
Xbox’s dev mode began as a simple $25 devkit for Xbox One and Series X/S developers. However, when owners found out that the emulation frontend, RetroArch, could be used to emulate various consoles on Series X/S and One consoles, it became a new reason for players to adopt Xbox’s next-gen consoles.
As of January 4, 2022, and possibly beyond, emulation-only users of the program and others have found they’ve been locked out of the devkit. These locked players received the following message in an email from Microsoft.
“We have disabled the Windows and Xbox enrollment in 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.”
According to the developer code, one must actively be posting developed materials to the Store and conducting similar activities to stay in good standing with dev mode. If no such activity is performed within 90 days, Xbox will disable your account as seen with the current cases.
This comes as a huge blow to those who praised Xbox for being an easily homebrewed console, making for great emulation practices without the need for hard or soft modding — something no other console can boast. It seems that this new ruling was created to curb the emulation usage on Xbox consoles.
Users can still access and join developer mode, but it may not be worth it for those who are simply using it for emulation. However, this may be an issue for actual developers as well, with the 90-day upload window.
There is also no word on refunds for those with disabled accounts. We’ve reached out to Xbox and Microsoft for a statement and will update this story when we receive a response.