Sources have revealed to Joystiq that USB Mass Storage Device Support on the Xbox360 console will shortly be available as part of a new system update. A written document from a Microsoft Senior Development Engineer was obtained that states due to increased market penetration of high-capacity, high throughput USB mass storage devices, a 2010 Xbox 360 system update will allow consumers to save and load game data from USB devices.
The update is expected Spring 2010 and allows any USB Mass Media Memory up to 16GB to be used in exactly the same way as a Memory Card or Microsoft HDD. The document details that the USB mass storage device must be at least 1GB and the system will do a compatibility check. The system partition will occupy 512 MB of space, and by default the consumer partition occupies the remainder of the device capacity, or 16 GB, whichever is smaller. Upon inserting a blank USB storage device gamers are offered two choices: ‘Configure now’ or ‘Customise’. The Configure now option will use the entire device capacity, up to the maximum of 512 MB plus 16 GB. The Customise option will allow you to preserve any data already on the device which is not for gaming use so that the console will not overwrite it.
By placing a 16GB Storage limit, the sales of Official Xbox360 HDD’s are not likely to be affected considering it is the only official way to get up to 250GB of storage on the system. With the option to use any USB Memory Device soon in all three ports on the Xbox360, does this indicate that Microsoft will no longer produce official Xbox360 memory cards?