USB Storage for the Xbox 360

By  |  Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Joystiq’s Alexander Sliwinski reports a credible rumor: Come this spring, Microsoft will allow Xbox 360 owners to install and download games onto external USB storage. He’s got photo documentation supposedly written by a senior Microsoft engineer and confirmation from two anonymous sources to prove it.

The documents say you’ll be able to store Xbox Live Arcade games,  downloadable content, full-scale Games on Demand and title updates on up to two connected storage devices at a time. Installing disc-based games to USB drives is also a possibility, but you’ll still need a disc in the tray, just like when you install a game to the hard drive now.

I still think the 120 GB hard drive on current Xbox 360 models is enough, but the earliest Xbox 360 models, which had 20 GB drives, can feel the squeeze. Microsoft gets a lot of heat for the price of its memory cards ($30 for 512 MB) and replacement hard drives ($130 for 120 GB), so this rumor will make Xbox 360 owners happy if it comes to fruition. This would definitely bolster the appeal of the $200 Xbox 360 Arcade, which lacks a hard drive. Joystiq says hard drives will be partitioned for 16 GB of storage maximum, but a 16 GB USB stick for $40 is still a better deal than Microsoft’s memory cards.

The question, of course, is why? I doubt we’ll ever hear an official explanation, but my best guess is that this has something to do with Datel’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. Until last November, Datel sold unofficial memory cards, which stored more data at a better cost-per-megabyte than Microsoft’s official products. Microsoft banned unauthorized storage products from the Xbox 360, and Datel claimed the console maker was being anti-competitive.

Maybe it’s wacky to assume that Datel’s lawsuit has anything to do with this, but the addition of USB storage would certainly take a bite out of Datel’s argument.


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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Jacob Nahin Says:

    As for speculation as to the “Why,” a post today by Joystiq gives us another rumor, the Xbox 360 Slim, which may not include a hard drive or slots for memory cards. If the rumor turns out to be true, then it makes sense that MS would allow for expanded storage via USB. The question is whether or not said USB storage will still require a chip for the 360 to identify ala the memory cards.


  2. Jared Newman Says:

    Hey Jacob,

    You raise a good point about USB storage in lieu of memory card support for the rumored slim (which we covered yesterday), and Ben has some interesting observations.

    But given that this update will reportedly arrive in the spring for existing consoles, I still think there’s another motivation at work.

  3. Chris Donahue Says:

    I know you can use a USB hard drive/flash drive for audio/video as long as the drive is formatted as FAT32. I have a 500GB drive connected. How this latest development will affect me is unknown.

  4. stories Says:

    I don't know whether to agree with this or not!

  5. StarCraft 2 Guide Says:

    I think this is a necessary addition for some of the XBoxes with lower memory storage.

  6. ncknick Says:

    his is great because I dont want to put more money into a larger hard drive

  7. That Free TV Site Says:

    Great! I sure dont want to spend more money on my system

  8. Dr. Brad Campbell Says:

    this is a very great blog that the readers having an interest to visit it often
    more on interesting things to follow and can give the satisfactions to the people.
    thank you guise for this article.

  9. MarryA Says:

    Thanks for the great info man,and have a happy new year!

  10. SueMcLeoud Says:

    Can anyone point me to a place where i can buy Wings of Liberty in digital for(the key) and somwhat cheap ?

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