Xbox 360 getting USB storage support this year?

Screens sent to gaming blog Joystiq appear to indicate Microsoft will soon open up its console to nonproprietary memory devices; artificial size limit of 16GB planned.

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Source: Gaming blog Joystiq.

What we heard: Last year ended with British company Datel suing Microsoft after an Xbox 360 firmware update locked out all third-party memory units. Now, it looks like the days of the console's proprietary memory units and hard drives may be numbered.

According to screenshots and documentation obtained by Joystiq, Microsoft is planning to add USB memory device support to its console via a firmware update later this year. The blog selectively quoted a memo from a "senior software development engineer" that said "USB mass storage device support on Xbox 360" is necessary due to "increased market penetration of high-capacity, high-throughput USB mass storage devices." The update will reportedly allow gamer profiles, game saves, and entire titles ripped from a disc to be stored on said devices--although the latter requires a game disc to be in the console for verification.

Screenshots accompanying the memo show a software development kit formatting a 4-gigabyte memory unit for use with the Xbox 360. Most new models are larger than the biggest first-party memory unit's 512MB capacity; Datel's third-party memory units went up to 4GB. Microsoft's spec for the functionality reportedly said USB devices must be at least 1GB in size but could not be anymore than 16GB, thereby artificially blocking the use of high-capacity external hard drives with the console.

The inability to hook up to large hard drives will anger many gamers who consider Xbox 360 hard drive pricing exorbitant. The $300 Elite model ships with a 120GB HDD as standard, although higher priced limited edition bundles come with a 250GB HDD. Sold separately, the 120GB HDD was $150, but the stand-alone product is no longer available at GameStop, Amazon, or Wal-Mart. The sudden disappearance has been coupled with premature retailer listings of a 250GB hard drive being released on March 23 for $130. Currently, the only Xbox 360 hard drive sold separately is the 60GB HDD that is part of the $100 Xbox Live starter pack.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation." -- Microsoft representative.

Gamers may not need to pick up a special bundle to get the 250GB drive after all.

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. With rumors of a slimline model gathering steam, Microsoft seems to be open to tinkering with the Xbox 360 form factor. And given the increasingly competitive battle with the PlayStation 3--which does support USB drives--the software giant may be amenable to expand its console's functionality as well.

Discussion

344 comments
yosuke_hitomi
yosuke_hitomi

oh finally they done it,what it took so long to use USB anyway and why until now ?

Krazyskitzy
Krazyskitzy

just to answer why only 16gb, cause then you wouldn't bother buying even their lowest teir drive, the 20gb. They wanna gouge you as much as possible, that why they release bigger hard drives in small size increases, even when the xbox first came out, 320gb drives were very readily available, and now eve 250gb is absolete. M$ imo just waits till a drive size becomes absolete, and picks it up at bottom cost, and reinflates it to its' customers. M$ has screwed up around every turn imo. Not to get to off track, but sticking with DVD media was their biggest mistake of all, they would have benefitted more from fully incorporating the hd-dvd even though it flopped, at least there wouldn't be disk swapping (ff13) and severe compression (dragon age) I;m on my 2nd xbox, and M$ would be hard pressed to get my attention their next system...

omari5
omari5

They just need to charge less for the Hard Drives they sell now. Way Less

blaze11987
blaze11987

@Hvac0120 Thanks for your comment. You make a brilliant point and i'm not attacking your stance as it is completely valid and sensible, the one thing i am attacking is the people who complain about Microsofts decision to NOT support 3rd party memory storage but still went and purchased the xbox anyway knowing this was the case, and are still complaining even when they are offered a solution to that problem. (albeit not a perfect one). The 16GB cap may seem small but its pretty much the only option Microsoft has to give the customer now and that's because of one reason; The Arcade system. Picture being in a store pondering over buying an xbox and the assistant explaining to you your options. You can buy an xbox elite with 120gb storage space with the option to upgrade to a 1TB hard-drive if you wished, or you can buy the arcade system for around £50 cheaper and use that £50 to purchase a hard-drive that has all the storage space you will ever need. Do you see my point? The flagship elite console would be made redundant with the arcade system being the only sane option for people to buy. Microsoft has backed themselves in to a corner by offering a console without an included hard-drive, and nothing less than pulling the elite system off the market with substantial revenue loss to themselves will remedy the problem of not offering larger memory storage options. I can see your smart enough to appreciate the predicament but it's others who have to appreciate it too.

tyzwain
tyzwain

Nintendo with their DS and Microsoft with Xbox have really conned us. Releasing slightly different formats is wrong, atleast with the PS3 you get everything right there in the first model. Only thing they've really changed is the size of the HDD. I'll stick with my original DS and my 60gb 360 thank you very much.

rodrigoambar
rodrigoambar

M$ isn't smart.. we're the dumb ones for buying into such an exploitative platform.. Just open the dam thing already and let us use any usb drive.

bwest3
bwest3

Why in the hell are they limiting it to just 16GB, what is the point other then to transfer stuff over and take it some where, I bought the 120gb, which is a huge rip off by the way, after putting all my games on the HD so I don't have to hear the loud roaring of the xbox fan that leaves me with very little room left to do anything else, If MS is wanting to actually make the xbox more of a home entertainment venue to get all of your DLC and movies, they need to expand the HD space or I don't see this a a viable solution, they need to allow external hard drives in order to really make a difference, 156 GB is not a solution to storage problems.

MetalMan300
MetalMan300

@wwonka666 Can't deny that point. I know that Microsoft has been taking forever to get around with this update, and it does in a way show that they're trying to squeeze out money for more overpriced hard-drives, even if they want to avoid piracy. Personally for me though, I seem to be one of the very few that's ok with the 20 GB harddrive I have already. It's definately getting cramped now, but between 74 360/360 compatible games and DLC I still have 2 GB left or so for downloading demos and stuff, which I can just delete when I'm done with them. For me the 16 GB add on is more than enough, though I suspect that other 360 gamers download alot more DLC than I do if no one else is okay with it lol. As long as I can keep playing my games without any more hitches, I'm a happy gamer. (Hope you didn't take offense to some of my earlier comments, looking back I may have sounded like a tool lol)

alixkid
alixkid

Bloody M$ trying to corner every aspect of there Xbox to make sure no one but them cam make the M$ Money.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

@blaze11987 Yeah. Sony is in it to make money, yet they have allowed for expandable, non-proprietary storage. Which is curious considering Sony is typically a strong supporter of their own proprietary formats. Yet it's because the PS3 allows for expandable memory and use of external storage that people gripe about the lack of the ability to do so on the Xbox 360. I know a few people whos 120GB hard drives are not large enough. They have huge music and movie collections that they would like on the 360 without needing to use Media Center and a PC to stream the content. They like to download nearly every demo and install every game to HDD that they think improves the loading times. 250GB would help, but still won't be able to handle everything they want on their systems. Not to mention the cost for the HDD only to be replaced by another, larger HDD. It comes to the point that it's cheaper just to get a different device. You don't have to have any knowledge of how companies make their money to know that Xbox 360 HDD prices are too high for the storage they provide. (remember 20GB for $100 at launch?!?). Both Nintendo and Sony offer standard storage options. It's about time that the "first to market", "next-generation", "HD" console catches up with it's "came out nearly 1-year later" competition.

blaze11987
blaze11987

Don't see why you would need more than 120gb right now anyway. With about 40 games (around 4 of which are installed to the drive) and even a few demos etc, i still have 80gb free which is more than enough. Microsoft is'nt forcing you to buy anything, if you want to upgrade with extras, it's your conscious choice to do so, but you complain anyway. If you have that much contempt for it, don't spend your money on something that angers you so much. If you owned, or even knew anything about business, you would understand the mechanics behind this whole scenario. In a time where the economy is fragile, staying competitive is more important than ever. Of course Microsoft wants you to buy their brand products because, believe it or not, Microsoft exists to make money, just like Sony and Nintendo. so like i said, if you don't agree with, or just can't understand the sales pitch, don't give them your money. It's not like it's your money anyway, it's your parents cash judging by some of the comments.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

This stuff should have been done a long time ago.

Cabal23
Cabal23

Oh yeah again I mention if you want to use a non MS hard drive there are tons of articles on how to do this. Why all the hate? Work smarter, not harder.

RiskTaker
RiskTaker

I will need to pick up that 250 Xbox anyway, aside from not having any storage space (I still use the 20 gig), the disk reader is starting to not work. Anyone has any advice for me I would appreciate it. The external USB idea is a long time in coming (In other words, about time).

ilidiandemon
ilidiandemon

The only reason xbox 360 sells well its because you can get "free" games with it you know... If wasn't for that PS3 would be almost top for sure, even close to nintendo Wii which is top because it is the most easy console to get "free" games as we all know. Just common sense.

Pangamaster
Pangamaster

Guys lets just keep in mind this is just a rumor, so it could never happen, or it could happen and not have a restriciton of 16gb, or it could happen as explained. just try to keep an open mind

JunglemanchiId
JunglemanchiId

MS are embarrassing with their treatment of customers with this overpriced out of date hardware. Seriously considering selling my elite

SibirskiyTigr
SibirskiyTigr

That sucks, they are just trying to milk their way, if it wasnt for limits, I could give my best friend my 1TB external hard drive so he can finally have more than 2GB on his 360 and save a lot of games (most of his 20 GB is just firmware from their updates)

SibirskiyTigr
SibirskiyTigr

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Pete5506
Pete5506

This would be a nice thing if this happens

BLuFAlc0n
BLuFAlc0n

Wow...that is so awesome!!!!!!!! ....and the PS3 could already do this AGES ago! ...even the Wii could hold 32GB Flash! For the Wii, you don't even need a Hard Drive because of the size of saves, you don't even need about 1 GB to save 1 Game.. ..and the PS3, you can switch it's Hard Drive....upto 1 TB. ...the 360 however, is fixed in 20 GB, 60 GB or 120 GB (which is more expensive than 1 TB Hard Drive), what's even worse is that to get a 250 GB, you have to buy another 360 (either the Forza 3, MW2 or FFXIII bundles). They sure are good at placing "names" on their bundles that doesn't even mean anything. ..and the "Limited" Editions of the 360, are not considered "Limited".

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

Was this really a problem for so many people to start crying over a month ago?

ITS_ENDOT
ITS_ENDOT

320gb hdd play.com for my ps3 :)

True_Chaos_UK
True_Chaos_UK

I bought my 120gb HD about a year ago from Argos for £55 , and I thought I was lucky to get it for that price. MS do know how to shaft you on the accessories.

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Its a joke what Microsoft charge for stand alone 360 drives. In fact its disgusting ! If people buy a console they should have a decent choice of drives available at a DECENT PRICE, either as bundles or stand alone units. USB support is way overdue.

kuda001
kuda001

Not surprised about the size limit but only 16gb...

yabbal
yabbal

I hope datel release a USB harddrive caddy that emulates multiple 16GB drives by storing data across multiple partitions that can be selected using buttons on the drive, similar to those 4Megabit memory cards for the PS1 where you had to press the button to switch between each part of the card. That way we can have a 1TB drive with multiple partitions which we can select at the press of a button. A LED display could display the current partition number for easy navigation. While far from ideal as you can only access 16GB at a time, it still beats paying the excessive price for an official 360 hard drive.

Sil3ntStRik3R
Sil3ntStRik3R

16gb?? r u serious?? what is this ipod nano!!! i own both ps3 and x360 and can seriously say for the great online service 360 has m$ clearly lacks in setting the best decisions for consumers! y even allow it if ull only allow 16gb?

Trogeton
Trogeton

man I thought that such a simple idea would have been brought out sooner

krytorii
krytorii

Im a ps3 owner, and I dont have too much on there so I dont worry too much about memory storage, but from what I know of 360 this seems a little stupid? I know people are going to call fanboy on me, but it seems that microsoft is trying to pull additional charges. Acording to this article, the highest 360 standard memory comes in at 250 gigs, but the new ps3 slims come in at that standard (I think, i still got my fat). This comes from microsoft, the company that built windows. Sorry, but I wouls have expected this from sony. If you look at windows its made to be used on as many different brands as possible, but this article gives the impression that microsoft is doing the opposite. But then again Im no expert on the xbox, so all this could be wrong

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

yeah slim 360, bring it on! as for external hdd, would be nice to install all me games on a 1T hdd... come MS, i dont want to be charged $60au for a clumsy 512mb memory card just to transfer my saves to a new hdd...

SteeleInd
SteeleInd

I'm fine with another 16GB. I just want a little space so I don't have to delete Demos and Arcade games all the time for DLC space. I don't know what these people are saying about "cutting support" of their hard-drives. The article just says they're not selling the 120GB because a 250GB HDD is coming at a lower price... Your HDD's will obviously still work.

Vodoo
Vodoo

You people are saying 16gb is pitiful and that ur ps3 is 300gigs... This is only for a usb plug-in stick. They're limiting it to 16gb because they want people to get an hdd if they want more space. It's basicly a flash drive. My 360 has the 120gb hdd and do you think they're gonna make those obsolete so they won't work anymore? Of course not!!! Use common sense people.

anomaly3001
anomaly3001

Just buy a PS3 if you already have a xbox360! I'm not putting anymore money into the console that has a million and one add-ons for high prices! @caketoo My thoughts exactly my friend! your gonna need a "M$" thumb drive to make this happen! lol

caketoo
caketoo

Get your microsoft made 2gb thumb drives, now for only $49.99. Theyll proabably be the only ones compatiable with the update.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

This and the Xbox 360 Slim will be very nice. I'd trade my current Falcon in for a new Smart looking Slimmer version any day.

Jonny7892
Jonny7892

Also why can't M$ just give a free 60gb hd for those that bought the original premium with the 20gb hd

Jonny7892
Jonny7892

Well this is just fantastic now i can save install more of the games that my Xbox disc drive scratched yay!

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

so what ms is doing is giving us on ly 16 gigs of space , and killing support of my hard drive ,

shkar
shkar

that's just lame Microsoft....I mean we have been using USB support for even the late PS2 and not just PS3........

tonyfutter
tonyfutter

@ s7efi there are more than 2 on the xbox 360. there 2 in the front yes. but there is an extra 1 in the back if your not using a webcam or wireless adaptor in it.

lilkidtrapped
lilkidtrapped

MS is slowly catching up, but personally i dont need this i have a xbox with 250GB and 120GB on my other. the best thing to do is... i have 2TB hooked up to my home PC with all my movies, music, and tv shows so all i have to do is access the windows media center and i have everything streaming in the livingroom and bedroom. They need at least 500GB 3rd party b4 i jump on this

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

500 GB on my PS3 as well. MS's reason for restricting HD was for people to spend money on company. So is Sony, but at least Sony isn't so blatantly greedy and allowed their users to upgrade as they saw fit.

cardkoda
cardkoda

16gb is pitiful. I have a 500gb on my ps3 with a 320 external and i have another 1tb for backup. USB drives? Damn M$ you're late in the race. I was using those on my ps2

leimeisei
leimeisei

16GB limit?? HA! Excuse me while I go plug my 1TB western digital into my PS3....

prioritymail
prioritymail

Finally! Memory Units are stupid. Thumb drives are where its at. Although, this may make for easier pirating...