Windows 8.1 has garnered most of the attention at Microsoft’s Build developers’ conference being held this week in San Francisco. Nevertheless, developers eager to start working on programs for the upcoming Xbox One console are still unsure of where to start. Today, Microsoft offered up a big hint, indicating that interested parties should create Windows 8 apps first.

Steve Guggenheimer, VP of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism group, explained, “Xbox One has two engines, it’s got a gaming engine and it essentially has a Windows 8 engine.”

The demo presentation featured a Khan Academy app running on what was supposedly an Xbox One console backstage. Guggenheimer also went on to demonstrate a remote debugging process on an Xbox One web application.

After giving it some thought, it makes sense that Microsoft wants to create a unified platform. Part of Apple and Android’s widespread appeal is that a single application can reach hundreds of thousands of users, since it is not restricted to a single device or model. If Microsoft wants to gain market share in the mobile space, this is a good first step. Developers will be happy to know that by creating an app designed for the PC, it can be quickly refitted for both smartphone and console users.

"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," added Guggenheimer.

There was no mention of how these Windows 8 apps would be published to the platform, or if self-published games will even be permitted.