Microsoft's Build developers conference in San Francisco has mainly focused on Windows 8.1 so far, but the company spent a few minutes talking about the future Xbox One development platform on Thursday. Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism group, provided big hints at how developers can target the Xbox One in the future. "Xbox one has two engines, it's got a gaming engine and it essentially has a Windows 8 engine," said Guggenheimer, referring to the new Xbox One architecture that lets the next-generation console run on the Windows 8 kernel.

Guggenheimer demonstrated remote debugging of a basic web application that appeared to be running on an Xbox One, noting that the app included an xbox.js library. "Nothing to announce today, but when I talk about that common core you're seeing that common core in action, being able to target other devices devices over time that run the Windows 8 engine," said Guggenheimer. He then proceeded to tease developers by encouraging them to develop Windows 8 apps in order to build Xbox One apps. "If you want to know about how to get a head start about thinking about developing for Xbox One, the logical thing to do is go build Windows 8 applications," said Guggenheimer.

Xbox app development still unclear

The development platform is still unclear, but Microsoft did note it will support native apps on Xbox One alongside web versions. It appears that developers may need to work with development tools that are almost identical to Windows 8 tools to create Xbox One apps. Microsoft also announced a new partnership with Unity to support all Microsoft platforms, including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. The toolset lets developers more easily develop games to run across multiple platforms.