Today Microsoft rolled out an update for the Xbox 360 gaming system that will allow users to save profile and game information to a USB drive. In a blog post, Xbox 360 Live Director of Programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb said the update will accept a range of USB devices, but warned that gamers must first configure their drive to work with the Xbox 360.
"Once you do that, the system will conduct a one time performance and integrity check to confirm the drive is working properly," writes Mr. Hyrb. "You will then be able to configure how much storage to use on the device, up to 16 GB. The remaining space on the flash drive will be accessible by your PC or Mac."
Hryb said that Microsoft has partnered with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 branded USB drive. According to the folks over at Gamespot, the drives, which arrive preconfigured for the Xbox 360, will be available in 8GB and 16GB capacities, and sell for $40 and $70, respectively. "Until then," Hryb wrote, "starting April 6th (when we release the system update) you can pop any flash drive over 1GB into your Xbox 360 and configure it as storage."
OK. So let's make sure we have this straight: Microsoft is going to charge $70 bucks for a preconfigured USB drive? Do us a favor, and potter over to Google, and plug "USB 16GB" into the search window. Odds are, you're going to see a lot of results for drives retailing for less than 70 bucks. SanDisk, for instance, sells a 16GB Ultra Backup for between $30 and $50, depending on the retailer.
By our calculation, that means you're going to be paying at least 20 bucks for Microsoft to preconfigure your drive, and probably add some fancy graphics. But hey, maybe we're being unfair. Talk to us: Have you downloaded the Xbox Live update yet? Are you going to buy a branded Xbox 360 drive?