It appears that Microsoft has decided to play catch up with a feature that the Sony Playstation 3 has had since launch, and that is the ability to use third-party USB devices for storage.
Joystiq came into possession of a document that outlines an impending update to the Xbox 360 software that will allow for the use of USB mass storage devices to be used as memory with the console. The blog has since confirmed this information with two other sources, so it looks like this is something that is really going to happen sometime in the very near future.
The document outlines that users will be able to plug in any USB device of at least 1 GB in size and have it formatted so the entire device is used, or they may customize it so that only a portion is used. No matter which configuration is chosen, only up to 16 GB of space may be used per device, and only two devices at any given time may be accessible for a potential total storage capacity of 32 GB.
The document goes on to state, “USB storage devices may, however, have far greater memory capacity than MUs (at the date of writing, the largest MU is 512 MB), and may therefore support previously infeasible operations-such as installation of a full disc-based title.” In short, it looks the current MUs (Memory Units) are about to become a thing of the past, and I for one couldn’t be more thrilled.
While many people are focusing on the fact that a full game could potentially be put on to the drives, I am far more excited about the idea of finally being able to back up my data in a far more logical manner. After having a recent scare with my Xbox 360, it worries me greatly that things like my saved games and downloaded copy of the arcade version of Magic: The Gathering could go poof without too much effort. The MUs have simply never been an option for backing up most of your stuff, and now having the potential of storing up to 16 GB of data on a removable device makes a lot more sense. And considering how cheap you can pick up USB thumb drives any more on sale, this seems like the perfect solution once it hits the system.
If you’re looking to jump into the Xbox, but have been put off by the price, you could pick up an Xbox 360 Arcade edition, grab a couple thumb drives, and then who needs to buy one of Microsoft’s hard drives? Sounds like a winner to me.
What say you? Are you excited about the upcoming USB support?