Let’s start with the facts.
Microsoft said in July 2013 that game developers would be able to use retail Xbox One consoles, the ones you can go out and buy today, as developer kits. Typically, hardware companies like Microsoft and Sony will send development kits, dev kits for short, to game makers. They use these special boxes to create their games. They are necessary.
So, you can see why it was good for developers when Microsoft said that eventually they could turn their retail consoles into dev kits, making the whole process a little bit easier.
Today, Digital Spy reported that, during a Q&A session at the Develop Conference 2014 with Xbox Advanced Technology Group’s Martin Fuller, he said that would no longer be the case. When the site asked him to clarify if it would be coming at a later date, he said, “As far as I’m aware there are no plans.”
Then, Microsoft came out and said this to press outlets:
“The comments today were inaccurate. We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solutions for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One. We will share more details at a later date.”
Nowhere in that statement does it say that retail Xbox One consoles can be turned into dev kits. All it says is that that the comments, which we assume to be from Fuller, today “were innacurate.”
So, why doesn’t Microsoft just say “Yes, retail Xbox One’s can be turned into dev kits”? Because it’s better to make the news not seem like a big backtrack and answer that question at a later date. Maybe this was supposed to be announced later and Fuller slipped up, or maybe now, Microsoft will take its chance, because of its sly statement, and add the feature in anyway. Then, it can act like it listened to its fans.
This is the point of big company public relations. It’s about keeping a good perception of the company, especially when it’s not been great lately. It’s about messaging, and we’ve fallen prey to it.