Microsoft USB Drive Q&A

Microsoft have just sent us over a Q&A regarding the news that they will be soon supporting USB Flash Drives via a firmware update.

Furthermore, the company are also teaming up with Sandisk to release a pre-configured USB Flash Drive that will make it easier to access your game saves, profile and Xbox LIVE content.

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The idea is that you will be able to take all this data with you, wherever you go, similar in fashion the the current Microsoft Memory card, but obviously with a much larger capacity.

You can find out all about this new deal and the device by reading the Q&A below.

USB Flash Drive Support Q&A

Q:         What does additional USB Flash Drive support mean for consumers?

A:         Additional USB Flash Drives support offers a low-cost option for Xbox 360 owners to truly experience all that is available on Xbox LIVE, including the best downloadable games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music videos and more.

Q:         Third party USB Flash Drives have always been compatible with Xbox 360, what is different about this announcement?

A:         Xbox 360 could always read content, like music or pictures, from USB Flash Drives. However, this update offers a low-cost option to store content from the Xbox 360 and truly experience all that is available on Xbox LIVE, including the best downloadable games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music and more up to 16GB.

Q:         When will the USB Flash Drive update be available to consumers?

A:         Additional USB Flash Drive support will be available through an Xbox LIVE update available on April 6.

Q:         Will this update make Xbox 360 more vulnerable to security risks and hacking?

A: Microsoft takes safety and security very seriously.  We require that Xbox LIVE users use the service in compliance with applicable laws and specifically prohibit users from engaging in illegal activity as a part of our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct.  Premium content purchased from Xbox LIVE Marketplace has never been compromised. That will remain the case when such content is stored on a USB device.

Q:         Will you be selling an Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive?

A:         Yes, Xbox 360 has partnered with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive in May that comes pre-configured for an optimal storage experience, including plug and play access to all that is available on Xbox LIVE with a 1 Month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership.

Q:         Can I use any third party USB Flash Drive to store content from my Xbox 360? Does it need to be Microsoft-branded?

A:         Performance of non-Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives will vary based on quality, speed and performance of the specific drive.  Some may not provide a recommended level of performance.

Q:         How will I know if my third party USB Flash Drive will be fully compatible with Xbox 360?

A: A performance check will occur when you connect the USB Flash Drive into the Xbox 360 for configuration. If the third party USB Flash Drive does not meet the necessary requirements, it will not pass the performance check. This could occur in the following scenarios:

  • The device less than 1GB
  • Xbox is unable to write to the device because of a device error or security.
  • The device gets pulled out during initialization
  • Xbox is unable to verify the integrity of the device

Q:         I want to know whether or not my USB Flash Drive will work with Xbox 360 before I purchase it. What are the speed and bandwidth requirements for third party USB Flash Drives?

A: Performance of non-Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives will vary based on quality, speed and performance of the specific drive.  Some may not provide a recommended level of performance the only way to determine whether or not a third party USB Flash Drive meets the necessary performance requirements is to connect it with the Xbox 360. 

Q:         If an Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive is the only way to ensure proper compatibility, why aren’t you releasing one at launch? Doesn’t this just create a guessing game with consumers?

A:         Performance of non-Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives will vary based on quality, speed and performance of the specific drive.  Some may not provide a recommended level of performance.

Q:         Is there a maximum amount of storage I can put on a USB Flash Drive?

A:         Additional USB Flash Drive support offers up to 16GB of storage. Users can use up to two USB Flash Drives at one time for a maximum storage capacity of 32GB.

Q:         What are the speed and bandwidth requirements for a USB Flash Drive to be compatible?

A:         Performance of non-Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives will vary based on quality, speed and performance of the specific drive.  Some may not provide a recommended level of performance.

Q:         How do I know if a USB Flash Drive will be compatible with my Xbox 360?

A:         Performance of non-Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives will vary based on quality, speed and performance of the specific drive.  Some may not provide a recommended level of performance.

Q:         Does this mean I can use an external Hard Drive with one of the USB ports in place of (or in addition to) the Xbox 360 20GB Hard Drive?

A:         No. Only the Xbox 360 Hard Drive that carries the “Created by Xbox” seal can be used with the Xbox 360 to save games, profiles or content downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Q:         Does this mean that I no longer need a Hard Drive for Xbox LIVE?

A:         You need a USB Flash Drive, Xbox 360 Memory Unit or a Hard Drive so that you can store your profile and saved games. The Xbox 360 Hard Drive offers the most space to store the best downloadable games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies and music, and will still be required to play original Xbox games. However, the addition of support for USB Flash Drives offers a low-cost option for Xbox 360 owners to experience Xbox LIVE.

Q:         Is this update to prepare for the launch of “Project Natal” or a new console later this year?

A:         This update is intended to offer a low-cost option for Xbox 360 owners to experience all that is available on Xbox LIVE, including the best downloadable games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music and more.

Q:         Are you worried this will impact the sales of your recently introduced 250GB console bundles?

A:         No. The Special Edition consoles, which include a 250GB Hard Drive, a blockbuster game and an extra Wireless Controller, are a great value for anyone who is wants to enjoy a total entertainment experience on Xbox 360. The 250GB Hard Drive is the most storage available on any Xbox 360 console to download games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music and more straight to your Xbox 360through Xbox LIVE.

The addition of support for USB Flash Drive offers a low-cost option for Xbox 360 owners to truly experience all that is available on Xbox LIVE, including the best downloadable games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music and more. It also makes it easier than ever before to transfer your profile and game saves to another Xbox 360 console.

Q:         Does this mean you’re discontinuing the Hard Drives for Xbox 360?

A:         No. We offer several storage options for consumers to choose from such as the Xbox LIVE 60GB Starter Pack that includes a 60GB Hard Drive, three-month subscription to Xbox LIVE, Ethernet Cable and Wired Headset for $99.99 ERP. For $129.99 ERP, the 250GB Hard Drive is the most storage available on any Xbox 360 console to download games, the latest demos, TV shows, movies, music and more straight to your Xbox 360through Xbox LIVE.

Q:         Does this mean you’re discontinuing the Memory Units for Xbox 360?

A:         Yes. The 512MB Xbox 360 Memory Unit will be available for $29.99 (US ERP) while supplies last. We offer several other storage options for consumers to choose from such as the Xbox LIVE 60GB Starter Pack that includes a 60GB Hard Drive, three-month subscription to Xbox LIVE, Ethernet Cable and Wired Headset for $99.99 ERP. Additional USB Flash Drive support gives consumers more choices and convenience in their storage options.

Q:         If there is already content on my third party USB Flash Drive when I plug it into my Xbox 360, will my content be erased?

A:         While the Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive will come pre-configured for Xbox 360, users will have an opportunity custom configure the USB Flash Drive during setup to allocate for PC space usage. Any additional storage space over 16GB will automatically be allocated for PC usage. However, if users reformat the Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive on a PC, it will make the entire drive allocated for PC use and any Xbox data stored on the device will be lost.

Q:         What about DRM? If I purchased a movie on Zune on Xbox LIVE, would I be able to save it to a USB Flash Drive and watch it at my friend’s house?

A:         Yes. Videos purchased from Xbox LIVE or Zune can be stored on a USB Flash Drive. Standard licensing model applies for download-to-own content, meaning that the video is always playable on the console on which it is purchased. Consumers can bring their downloaded content to another console with the item on USB flash drive. However, in order to playback the video on a different console, the consumer that made the original purchase must be signed into Xbox LIVE.

Q:         What is different about an Xbox branded USB Flash Drive vs. a third party USB Flash Drive?

A:         The 8GB Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive comes pre-configured for an optimal storage experience, including plug and play access to all that is available on Xbox LIVE with a 1 Month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership.

Q:         Will I be able to use an Xbox-branded USB Flash Drive with other devices, like my laptop?

A:         While the Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive will come pre-configured for Xbox 360, users will have an opportunity custom configure the USB Flash Drive during setup to allocate for PC space usage. Any additional storage space over 16GB will automatically be allocated for PC usage. However, if users reformat the Xbox 360 branded USB Flash Drive on a PC, it will make the entire drive allocated for PC use and any Xbox data stored on the device will be lost.

Q:         If I transfer my Xbox LIVE profile to another console, does it also transfer my movies, music, games?

A:         This update will allow you transfer all of your saved games and downloadable content licenses, giving you access to re-download the content you already own onto another console. However, moving your profile does not automatically move your saved game and other content. Consumers can selectively transfer any of their content to a USB Flash Drive with the exception of installed game images.

Standard licensing model applies for download-to-own content, meaning that the video is always playable on the console on which it is purchased. Consumers can bring their downloaded content to another console with the item on USB flash drive. However, in order to playback the video on a different console, the consumer that made the original purchase must be signed into Xbox LIVE.

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