December 10, 2013, 6:00 AM —
When the two 'next gen' gaming consoles were still in the process of being introduced to consumers, Sony came out strongly in support of indie game developers. It was one way the company was differentiating its console from Microsoft's Xbox One, and being indie-friendly was resonating in the online gaming community.
Microsoft scrambled to respond, dropping some of their fees and restrictions in the short term, and promising that every Xbox One would eventually be a dev kit (development kits for game consoles in the past have tended to be an expensive investment for small developers). Exactly how this would all work wasn't explained at the time.
Last week, the code was cracked, so to speak. By going into the Xbox One settings menu and hitting the shoulder buttons in a specific sequence, you'll enable a new settings sub-menu for development.
In a statement to Eurogamer, Microsoft advised gamers not to enable this functionality:
"Changing the settings in this menu is only intended for developers for Xbox One, and this alone does not turn the console into a development kit. We strongly advise consumers against changing these settings as it could result in their Xbox One becoming unusable. Customers who have put their consoles into this developer setting can revert by restoring factory defaults under Settings / System, select Restore Factory Defaults."
A "confirmed Xbox One dev" and someone from Epic Games backed up Microsoft in a reddit thread. The Xbox One dev said "Please don't mess with anything here for the time being, especially the sandbox ID. You risk putting your box into a boot loop."
That was just enough info to let some idiot come up with a prank for poorly informed Xbox One owners. There's a post going around saying that you can get Xbox 360 backwards compatibility on the Xbox One by enabling development mode and, you guessed it, messing with the sandbox ID.
If you do this, you'll put your Xbox One into a reboot loop, effectively bricking the system. Or so I'm told; I like my readers, but not enough to put my Xbox One at risk!
The bottom line is this: there is no way to enable backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. (If the machine had such a feature don't you think Microsoft would be promoting it heavily!?) And for now at least, there's no good reason to enable development mode on your Xbox One.
Here's hoping Microsoft patches out the ability to enable this mode soon. They can re-enable it when the software is ready for use and has some safety measures built in.
So far I haven't been able to find a fix for this reboot loop that is being reported. If you've already fallen for the prank (or gotten yourself into trouble by experimenting with the dev tools) you'll have to contact Microsoft for help
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.