The Xbox One is out, but Microsoft is at a standstill when it comes to third-party apps.
Big apps like YouTube, Hulu Plus, Machinima, and Netflix were available on Xbox One at launch, but Microsoft is hesitant to open the platform up entirely to third-party developers.
That could prove to be a problem as potential competitors like Apple and Valve dance around the living room, especially when users are expecting a more advanced and all-inclusive computing experience from the new Xbox console.
An experience they're not getting…yet
Penello told The Verge that Microsoft wants to make cross-platform development between the Xbox One and Windows 8 easier, but that factors like privacy, family safety, security, and Xbox Live all have to be considered.
First Steam Machine costs as much as an Xbox One
Is the Xbox one a hit?
PS4: the TechRadar verdict
"We want to make sure no one's doing anything bad with it," he said.
Third-party app development is tied closely with indie game development on the platform, and Microsoft seems unsure how to handle either.
Some indie developers still haven't received their dev kits, or even the details on how the Xbox One's indie game program will work, The Verge said.
Kinect is a factor there as well, since third-party developers could conceivably use the always-on camera and microphone array for nefarious purposes.
Penello also suggested that the Xbox Live marketplace will continue to be less open than, say, mobile app stores like Apple's and Google's, saying "The barrier to entry to be on the TV is higher."
Room for requirements
"I don't think we're gonna get to a point where it's gonna be like, push a button and it's just in two places [Xbox One and Windows 8]," Penello said.
"But I do think we've made it significantly easier for people to do a Windows app and that core engineering work ports over. Then it's about, 'is it optimized for the 10-foot experience and does it fit the requirements?'"
Those requirements are still being ironed out, but as The Verge pointed out, there's no technical reason why Windows 8 apps can't work on Xbox One. Some have reportedly been ported in less than 24 hours.