A while ago we learned of an online update for the Xbox 360 that allows users to read and write data to and from external media via USB. It was an update that was very welcome to say the least for any Xbox user, particularly those who enjoy the fantastic media services offered by Microsoft’s console. Hence, it was only a matter of time before a manufacturer, in this case SanDisk, jumped on the bandwagon and released ‘official’ Xbox 360 USB memory sticks.
“SanDisk has a proven track record of creating high-quality storage solutions,” said Ilan Spillinger, Vice President, Xbox Hardware and Technology, Microsoft. “The Xbox 360 USB Flash Drive by SanDisk provides a great solution for gamers who need portable storage for their Xbox 360 content. Its plug and play simple.”
So I guess some of you are wondering why this drive is actually necessary. Well, even though the capacity of the built in drives has been steadily increasing with every new model since the consoles initial release way back in mid-2005, and the Xbox 360 Elite model is now packing a maximum 250Gb Hard Drive, which I dare say is enough internal storage for the vast majority of 360 owners, for some portability is still a key issue.
There are of course memory cards for the 360, however they are limited to a pathetic 512mb, which is hardly enough for anybody with even a mild interest in media playback on their console. So along come SanDisk brandishing their range of Xbox 360 flash drives packing either 8Gb or 16Gb of flash storage, pre-formatted and configured so in theory, it all just works.
Aesthetically, the drives are very simplistic. A glossy black finish with one end providing the USB connection and the other, a means of attaching it to your keys or something. The standard green Xbox 360 logo is printed on one side.
The Sandisk Xbox 360 flash drives provide a perfect means of transporting not only your media files, but also perhaps save games and settings between different consoles. Perhaps you are taking the game to your friends and want your personal profile, records and settings with you. It also provides ample room for transferring high definition movies files in case you haven’t implemented any sort of media streaming system from your Windows PC to your Xbox 360. There really are an abundance of reasons why having external storage is a God-send for huge numbers of Xbox 360 owners.
“Xbox LIVE contains a world of content for gamers to explore and download, including full-length games, movies and music,” said Shuki Nir, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Retail, SanDisk. “The Xbox 360 USB Flash Drive by SanDisk is specifically engineered to deliver a great user experience and maximum compatibility with the console, offering gamers greater freedom and flexibility in how they store, manage and enjoy their favorite files.”
The drives are available now from major retailers as well as SanDisk.com. The suggested retail price is perhaps a little steep for drives of such capacity, ranging from £29.99 to £51.99 for the 8Gb and 16Gb respectively. However, when you consider that SanDisk is actually the global leader for such devices, and these officially licensed Xbox 360 memory sticks are currently unique to them, it’s hardly surprising you pay a premium.