A set of step-by-step instructions purporting to enable a hidden backwards compatibility mode on the Xbox One has been declared a hoax by Microsoft, bringing warnings that it will leave consoles unusable if followed.

Despite pre-launch rumours to the contrary, Microsoft launched the Xbox One without support for previous-generation Xbox 360 titles. For gamers who don't have unlimited space beneath their TVs and who had enjoyed backwards compatibility on the previous-generation Xbox 360 - albeit only for a very small subset of the most popular Xbox games, it must be said - that wasn't great news. Imagine their joy, then, when an image claiming to offer "Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Unlock" for the Xbox One started spreading on social networking sites late last week.

Based on the instructions for unlocking the hidden Developer Mode of the console, the image walks the gamer through a six-step process which includes enabling Developer Mode and then changing the console's Sandbox ID to 'freezone.reboot.' This, when the console is rebooted, is claimed to enable compatibility with Xbox 360 games - providing a way for gamers to enjoy their previous-generation titles once the scarce Xbox One launch titles have been exhausted.

Sadly, it's bunkum. When the Developer Mode unlock was first discovered, developers with access to actual dev kits were quick to issue a warning: changing the Sandbox ID from its default will brick the console. That piece of information appears to have formed the basis of some idiot's attempt at vicious humour - hence the detailed instructions promising the world but delivering only despair, forcing the newly-purchased device into an endless boot-loop.

'To be clear there is no way to make your Xbox One backwards compatible,' Microsoft's Larry Hryb confirmed over the weekend, 'and performing steps to attempt this could make your console inoperable.'

If you want to play Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One, there's only one foolproof method: connect your Xbox 360 to the Xbox One's HDMI input. It isn't exactly 'backwards compatibility,' but at least it's risk-free and saves an input on your TV or AV receiver.

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