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The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is about to make some pretty serious changes to the way in which developers can use Xbox One retail units.

Citing "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans", the article claims that the Redmond giant will roll out a new Xbox One Software Development Kit (SDK) preview in May, as well as allowing retail Xbox One consoles to be used as development kits in conjunction with that SDK. What that means is that potentially anyone with a retail Xbox One can start developing apps for the console over the summer, ahead of a big winter push of independently-created content.

Beta versions of apps that allow created software to be tested with the Xbox Live community will be on offer, and the change to the system apparently means that apps can finally run properly in the background. What this means is that any music apps you can get for Xbox One could continue running in the background while you're gaming.

Existing apps will, of course, still function on the console, but November is the rumoured month when Microsoft will switch everything over to the new "universal apps" structure, meaning that code created for Xbox One would also be able to run on Windows 10, Surface tablets, Windows Phone, and the like, with minimal effort.

For now, all this is rumour still, but it certainly sounds credible to us given that Microsoft has stated more than once that retail consoles would be usable as devkits.