Xbox 360 getting USB storage support this year?
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, however, 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. No upper limit on USB device size was mentioned, although 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.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation." -- Microsoft representative.