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Xbox 360-branded USB drives start at $40 - Retail Radar

GameStop listing official "pre-configured" SanDisk 8GB USB drive going for $40, 16GB selling for $70--over twice the price of unbranded drives.


Last week, Microsoft confirmed rumors that the Xbox 360 would start supporting USB flash drives starting April 6. The move came after nearly four and a half years of Microsoft only offering first-party proprietary memory units and hard drives, which were widely criticized for being overpriced. It also came just over four months after Microsoft locked out high-capacity third-party memory units with a fall firmware update.

SanDisk's Xbox 360-branded 16GB USB drives cost twice as much as the unbranded ones.
SanDisk's Xbox 360-branded 16GB USB drives cost twice as much as the unbranded ones.

As part of the USB-support announcement, Microsoft said that it was partnering with SanDisk to release Xbox 360-branded USB flash drives. Now, GameStop is listing the official USB drives, which bear a higher price than un-branded third-party devices, for preorder. The 8GB drive retails for $39.99, while the 16GB model sells for $69.90. By comparison, an unbranded SanDisk 16GB thumb drive is on sale on Amazon for $28.50, or 59 percent cheaper.

According to the GameStop description, the main selling point of the Xbox 360-branded USB flash drives is that they are "preconfigured" for a "seamless experience" and come with a one-month Xbox Live Gold membership, which has a full retail value of $8 but can be acquired for as much as $2.50. However, formatting an unbranded third-party drive is as easy as plugging it into the Xbox 360, going to the system settings area, selecting the USB device, and selecting "configure now."

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