Update Jan 6, 8:59 AM Eastern: Jason Ronald, Partner Director of Program Management at Team Xbox, posted a thread on Twitter explaining that they have no plans to remove or deactivate Developer Mode on the Xbox consoles. He explains that as part of some regular maintenance to clean up inactive accounts, they accidentally deactivated some Partner Center accounts used to enter Developer Mode on Xbox consoles:
We have no plans to remove or disable Developer Mode on Xbox consoles. We continue to believe in and support a healthy independent app and game development community on Xbox.— Jason Ronald (@jronald) January 5, 2022
The original story follows below.
Anyone who makes use of the Xbox's dev mode to make Universal Windows Platform games and apps might be in for a surprise this morning. Microsoft has been disabling dev mode accounts that they have deemed "inactive."
This was noticed last evening on GBAtemp.net, in which a user known as "tech3457" posted a thread warning other users that Microsoft seemed to be taking down inactive accounts. They recieved an email from Microsoft (which they note wound up in the junk folder on the Outlook app) saying:
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 (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/publish/store-developer-code-of-conduct) which says that an active presence in the Store must be maintained.
When they attempted to go into dev mode on their One X, they were met with a webpage saying "Access Restricted." Tech3457 wasn't a heavy user of dev mode, but they imagine it'll be a bigger problem for others.
The Developer Code of Conduct notes that people's dev account has to be in good standing, which includes, but isn't limited to, providing Microsoft accurate and current information, not violating their policies, and "staying active in the Store." However, the page itself doesn't specify what Microsoft considers "active." Others in the thread tech3457 posted expressed disappointment and confusion about this news, with some noting that they also thought the email was a phishing/scam email. One user, "ut2k4master," was able to get their account reactivated, and noted that the email confirming their reactivation said they must "publish an app or game product within 90 days to maintain an active presence."