'XBOX Durango Development Kit' Sells For $20,000

The nondescript black PC tower that its seller claims is a Durango development kit has now been sold. The winning bid? Oh, a trifling $US20,100.

For that price, the buyer has either got themselves an unexpectedly early look at the future of the Xbox brand or the world's most expensive office computer.

Given the fact the distribution of development kits is strictly controlled by the platform holder - and with good reason - it'll be interesting to see what comes out of the sale. If it's a scam, well, that's the way the world works. eBay's buyer protection scheme should take care of the buyer if all they've paid for is a regular PC.

If it really is a Durango dev kit, though, well. Having development tools and a snapshot (if not exact match, since dev kits are normally more powerful) of the console's final hardware out in the wild, in the hands of the public, would be a nightmare scenario for Microsoft.

Unless it's Microsoft that bought the thing...

We're still waiting on a response from Microsoft over the listing, and will update if we hear back.

Microsoft XBOX Durango Development Kit [eBay]


    "Having development tools and a snapshot (if not exact match, since dev kits are normally more powerful) of the console’s final hardware out in the wild, in the hands of the public, would be a nightmare scenario for Microsoft."


      This is what I want to know.

      Its an excellent marketing/hype tool, and that if anything changes, they can just say its not official etc.

        Reverse engineering.

        (From my very limited understanding of these things, so take it with a grain of salt)

        Dev kits cost heaps of money even after a console is released, and you need to sign all sorts of contracts and NDAs to get your hands on one. They aren't just the hardware of the console, they contain software tools for the developers to be able to make games for the system. More importantly I think, you have complete unfettered access to the hardware, unlike normal conoles which are closed systems (making them harder to hack). So possibly piracy is a concern, it might be a lot easier to figure out how to bypass the system on a Devkit. Or maybe it's just - Imagine if Sony got their hands on it and worked out exactly what the neXtbox would be able to do and how it would do it and how much all the parts cost, that sort of info would be worth a fair bit of money I'd guess. From looking at the parts and how they work together you could work out what microsoft is paying for everything, what their margin is (when they announce a price) and what the machines strengths will be, allowing you to position yourself appropriately for the PS4.

        Or it could just be a rich individual who just wants the new xbox, in advance, which is automattically "jtagged" so it will be able to play pirated games perfectly from day 1 without detection, who knows.

          I would say that's a *bang-on* response.

          So they can jtag a console that isn't finished in order to pirate games that don't exist yet and/or hack the console in advance of the release date so when the new console is out for real they can more easily hack games or Xbox Live itself?

          Even if your (admittedly more compelling than I expected) outline is accurate it seems pretty implausible that even in the worst case this is a "nightmare" scenario for Microsoft.

            Sorry "jtagged" was the wrong word to use, I just meant that a Devkit can play unsigned games, which means it can automatically play 'backup' games without needing to be hacked.

            In terms of developing hacks that would work on retail boxes: Xbox live wouldn't be at risk, as they can constantly update that, but the hardware itself could be open to exploitation (As once they lock in the various systems they're using, it's not easy to change it without distrupting the developers who are already making games for it, as well as hardware sourcing and production itself). So potentially they might be able to learn of some weakness in the system and develop a hack which would work on the retail console, that could mean that the new xbox is compromised from day one, leading to much more piracy... maybe?

            The 'letting their competitors' get a good look inside the box is probably a bigger concern though. Like, imagine if Samsung got their hands on the iphone, 6 months before it was released - but not just the retail iphone, but a completely transparent and unsecured version that allowed you to leard how it all worked, that could have been a game changer (though this isn't on the same level).

            A devkit is just like the finished console, but better - more robust and more accessible. It would be like having an Ouya version of a xbox 720, I can see how a rich gamer/collector with no thought of piracy or competition would be willing to pay for that.

            The other thing that seems wrong about this, is that Microsoft would be able to account for every single devkit they've sent out, and know who is personally responsible for each one. I couldn't imagine it would be that hard to track them all down and find out which company is going to be in the naughty corner, unless one was specifically stolen.

          I don't doubt Sony would already know whats in the nextbox. They'd have plenty of developer contacts and "friends" who'd let slip details.

        My guess is that it is because it takes the ability to control the hype out of Microsoft's hands. Everyone will know that the 720 has these exact specs, but here comes Sony with a top secret Hyper Emotion Reality Intrigue processor, which claims to have 60 cores. But here is Microsoft, who is using soandso processor, which equivalent costs $70 according to newegg and it doesn't even have five star average user rating.

          I don't know... People have known for a long time that console hardware was sub-par, but that didn't stop the majority of their target market from buying them.

            If you are talking about the 360, then use the hardware is sub-par (RRoD anyone?)

            But other consoles are well made and are able to survive even nuclear fallouts.

        1. Marketing
        There is a very precise method of information release and strategy involved. This is all geared towards max sales. It's an expensive and important department.

        2. Viral interwebs
        These are Alpha kits with plenty of changes to be made down the track. Misinformation being led out can hurt the brand before it is even out.

        3. Current Gen
        You NEVER let the public know of upcoming projects. If people know they are working on the next gen... then they will not buy current gen. Big problem

        4. Prevention better than cure
        You let one dude get away with this. You set a precedent for others to try later. Further escalating the above problems

        It's not an excellent marketing hype tool. An excellent marketing hype tool is their Marketing Department. Where millions of dollars are spent specifically for marketing by professionals in the marketing field.
        This is uncontrolled release of secrets. It has so much potential to mess things up than it does to help

      For the same reason no company wants info on their hardware out in the wild during development... Giving your competitors an insight to your product.

    I am very suspiscious of it's authenticity. The sale had higher bidders, he just chose to end it early. Which makes no sense, you'd want to make as much money as you could from it. Unless you're trying to distance yourself from it, because it's an illegal sale. Then again, 20k is a pretty damn high number.

    Someone mentioned Sony might have bought it. Conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories, but 20k to see the exact specs of your competitor isn't that high a price.

      Interesting theory...

    For that price I hope it comes with Direct X 17.

    Even if it's real, why would anyone want to buy it?

    You won't have any games for it, won't be able to buy any games for it and the insides are likely to be equivalent to a good PC you could buy for 10% of what you paid.

    So apart from bragging rights to "lol I got a development kit, here's the specs" why would you pay that much money for it?

      A video game site would get there money back on this thing. Mr Serrells, did you buy this?

        Good point, but 20k is still a lot. A working iPhone 4 before it was known what it would be like was sold for only 5k to a tech site, turning Gizmodo into a schoolyard and office name (instead of just that weird "what's that your looking at, Jizzmondo?" site that you see mentioned sometimes).

          I found Gizmodo through Kotaku.

          I'm surprised that it took this long for someone to mention gizmodo.

          Of course Gizmodo Got themselves blacklisted for awhile for that didn't they? Or something like it?

      "the insides are likely to be equivalent to a good PC you could buy for 10% of what you paid." Oh come on off it, 10% of 20 grand is 2 grand, right? You know what you can have in a PC these days for that kind of money? Nothing you'll ever see in a console. It's more like a 300 dollars of parts in it honestly.

        You can build a solid PC for $1500 and for around $2000 - $2500 something that can double up as a gaming PC and a one box distributed system.

        But as I pointed out in my other post, a common fact overlooked by PC advocates is consoles have specialised hardware and buses. That is why sometimes frame rates are better on consoles than PCs - the hardware only serves a gaming purpose while the PC is design to general thus creating an interoperability/configuration nightmare.

        And before anyone tries faulting me for this, yes I know some console used COTS parts but often still in a required architecture. The Saturn is one example.

      "and the insides are likely to be equivalent to a good PC you could buy for 10% of what you paid."

      Consoles often have specialised hardware and specialised buses so no you would not get a PC equivalent. Then again, I'm multi-platform and do not see any console or PC platform as being superior to the others. The honest truth is there is no superiority - only advantages and disadvantages and one is buggered no matter which platform is chosen.

      That aside though, there might be signing certificates in the device and most consoles these days are nick-named DRM boxes because everything from the hardware to the software on the device is either signed or encrypted.

      Even if the certificates are not there, a leaked development kit would be a nightmare because it gives the person insight into the authentication and verification processes so they can get either their own certificates to work or by pass the checks.

    If it is legit, I find it hard to believe that anyone but Microsoft would have been the buyer.

    Usually Dev kits have a bit more official branding, somewhere on the outside/inside of the box...

    Check out Assembler http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/forum.php blog and youtube channel
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ASSEMblerEX who is one of the most credible and authoritive collectors on the planet - if anyone would know if it's real or fake - this guy would.

    With all the NDAs and the likes that MS has if it was legit they would be able to prosecute the seller as it certainly would break the contracts that were signed. Also wouldn't Microsoft would have even been able to use this to get eBay to pull it from the site? Like owners of whatever IP can get Videos pulled from YouTube. eBay would also be in the position that it would have to remove stolen/illegal goods. I doubt you could sell/buy 15kg of illicit drugs on eBay.

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