5 Xbox One Myths Dispelled: Don’t Brick Your Console!

Given how much backtracking and mixed messages Microsoft themselves had given out about the Xbox One prior to its release last November, it’s no surprise the web is full of myths and disinformation. Not all of it is harmless though – some of the “helpful tips” you’ll find will actually end up irrecoverably bricking your console. Don’t be a victim, and don’t believe lies: read this first.

Still on the fence about whether to buy one? Check out our extensive review of the Xbox One!

Xbox One Can’t Do 1080p Gaming

This is an extrapolation from specific games that aren’t running at 1080p, but it’s not true to say this of the console as a rule. Ryse: Son Of Rome (Xbox exclusive) actually runs at 900p, upscaled to 1080p; while Call of Duty: Ghosts runs at 720p, compared to the PS4’s 1080p. Certainly, neither of those is a false statement.

But the first games for any system are not the most optimised. It’s a new console, and the programmers have yet to take advantage of it to its fullest. Compare some of the first Xbox 360 games to the stunning GTA V, and you’ll see why.

Don't listen to the rumors: this game looks TERRIBLE.

Don’t listen to the rumors: this game looks TERRIBLE.

That said, the fact that Infinity Ward was able to lock down 60 FPS on the PS4 at 1080p natively may be indicative of the ultimate differences in gaming performance, which will only become even more apparent as the consoles life cycles continue.

Xbox One is Backwards Compatible

A nasty rumour was spread that the Xbox One was in fact capable of playing Xbox 360 games, and all that was needed was a simple hack to enable the feature. This isn’t of course entirely unfeasible in the realm of computing hardware: similar hacks exist that can turn a cheaper CPU into a more expensive one. Unfortunately, this particular hack – which involved pressing keys to enable a special developer mode – would send the Xbox One into an endless reboot loop that couldn’t be recovered.

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Why was this hack nonsense? The Xbox One is built on an entirely different architecture to the Xbox 360, not simply an upgraded version of the existing hardware. All existing games would need to be re-written completely. It would be like trying to run old Mac OSX software on Windows. To do this, you would need to emulate the system (potentially very slow), or rely upon a cloud streaming service such as Sony recently announced for old PlayStation 3 games.

So sit tight: cloud streaming of old Xbox 360 games may be coming, but you certainly can’t play them on your Xbox One at the moment, and no local hack is going to let you.

Kinect is Always Watching

I’d love to dispel this myth, but actually I can’t. In light of recent NSA revelations and the fact that Microsoft wouldn’t legally be able to tell us the truth anyway, it is indeed entirely possible that the US government now has a camera and microphone in an awful lot of homes – I really wouldn’t put anything pass them at this point. TheVerge has a more elaborate write-up on the topic, so check that out.

Why are you so afraid of me?

Why are you so afraid of me?

There’s no actual evidence that anything is currently being sent – but to be safe, just don’t do naughty things in front of your TV, mmmkay. Speaking of which, be careful about switching to another HDMI source while Xbox is still on in the background: I was recently watching a movie, and discovered that the Xbox had decided that at some point I asked it to call a friend on Skype.

The one myth I can dispel though is that your “Xbox One won’t work without Kinect connected”. It will work just fine, but you can also deactivate the camera and microphone through the privacy settings. Which leads us on to…

Microsoft Will Sell a Kinect-less Xbox One

If it’s not essential that the Kinect be plugged in, surely that means they could release a version of the Xbox One which doesn’t include the Kinect? In theory, yes. They could. But they won’t. Just as they won’t release an Xbox which doesn’t run the Windows 8 core alongside the “gaming” part of the system.

The last generation of Kinect was reasonably successful, but held back by the fact that developers won’t make games for niche hardware – the fact it was an “add-on” was a problem. This generation, the Kinect games can stand proud being sold alongside all the other blockbusters, and Microsoft isn’t going to let go of that.

There’s a lot to be said for making homogenous devices: Microsoft is taking a leaf from the Apple books. One point of reference, one thing to support, one device to design for, one number to pitch to developers. 3 million Xbox Ones were sold in 2013, and every single one of them has a Kinect.

Microsoft Will Re-Enable DRM At Some Point

I’ve had my fair share of issues with DRM, but if Microsoft re-enabled their original plan, I’d say “good”. It was stupid to get rid of it, and they shouldn’t have responded to the inane internet trolls. Family game sharing would have been great, as would loaning games to friends – but a minority of whiny gamers had to ruin it for everyone. Thanks.


This myth can at least be half-dispelled in the sense that it wouldn’t affect existing games. The security for Xbox One games right now is on the disc, not in any licensing DRM. This won’t change. However, it is conceivable that a second model could exist alongside it, just as you already have digital downloads and physical games – the former of which is DRMed, the latter which isn’t. Microsoft could re-enable DRM on disc sales (and all the features it brings), then give publishers the option to publish with either system.

The Xbox One has a lot to make you love it (SmartGlass is pretty cool), but an abundance of accurate information about it on the internet is not one. What rumors have you heard that still persist, or do you have any questions about the system you want answered? Ask away, and I’ll see what I can do!

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