Microsoft announced the release of a new Xbox Development Kit that features additional RAM for development purposes, built-in flash memory, larger hard disk drives, and a smaller form factor.
The new XDK console, which is offered at "a significantly reduced price from its predecessor", is designed to increase efficiency while reducing costs for licensed development teams of all sizes that wish to create software for the Xbox 360.
When developers purchase the new XDK, they will have the option to license a Sidecar attachment that offers debugging and disc emulation capabilities. Developers can share the Sidecar across multiple XDK consoles, so they'll no longer need to license multiple and more expensive debugging consoles.
Microsoft says the Sidecar reduces "the overall price to create, test, debug, and release an Xbox 360 or Xbox Live Arcade game." The platform holder also points out that making the Sidecar optional is ideal for studios that don't need those functions.
The company intends to make the new XDK and Sidecar available to all developers who already have licensing contracts. Once the new XDK console launches, Microsoft will make it the standard kit when fulfilling new orders.
"Microsoft is known in the industry for providing easy-to-use tools that allow developers to create high quality games without a huge time investment," says Xbox Advanced Technology Group's principal program manager Pete Isensee. "Now we're offering those tools at a lower cost to reduce their monetary investment as well."
Isensee continues, "The redesigned Xbox Development Kit is also an indicator of our continued investment in the platform; it is one piece of our ongoing programs to support Xbox 360 for years to come."