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Xbox 360 Update Will Lock Out Unauthorized Storage 435

itwbennett writes "The other shoe has dropped on the upcoming preview program for the next Xbox 360 update and it's going to cost you. In a post on the Major Nelson blog, Xbox's Larry Hryb reveals that this next update will lock-out unauthorized storage devices. As blogger Peter Smith reminds us, 'the Xbox 360 comes in two (currently) SKUs, one with a hard drive, and one without. The drive-less Xbox 360 Arcade unit is cheap ($199) but to realistically use it, you'll need to buy a "Memory Unit" (basically a proprietary USB stick) or an Xbox hard drive.... A 512 MB Microsoft branded Memory Unit goes for $29.99 at A 2 GB third party Memory Unit from Datel goes for $39.99, and the Datel unit is expandable using microSD cards....If you bought the Datel and it's full of data, between now and the launch of the new update you're going to have to run out and buy 4 of the Microsoft units at $29.99 each, or more likely, pick up the $99.99 60GB Live Starter Pack for Xbox 360.'"
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Xbox 360 Update Will Lock Out Unauthorized Storage

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  • Or 120GB for $54.99 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 19, 2009 @04:20PM (#29799411) Journal

    ... or more likely, pick up the $99.99 60GB Live Starter Pack for Xbox 360.

    Or (in an even more likely scenario if you're reading Slashdot) you will opt to do it yourself [] to get twice that storage for a little over half the cost []. This is, of course, assuming that locking out "unauthorized storage" does not also target in some crazy way locking out hard drives.

  • Is this right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @04:35PM (#29799673)

    You can buy 60GB for $99 or "stick it to the man" by paying $29 for a 2GB third party device?

  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @04:47PM (#29799869) Journal

    But Apple blocking the Pre from working with iTunes isn't bad?

  • by SlashBugs ( 1339813 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:03PM (#29800055)
    This is something I've been wondering about for a while with devices that receive software updates. People base their purchasing decisions on the list of features announced for the devices, the payoff of what features you get against the price. Then, as part of an upgrade, the manufacturer deliberately cripples part of the device and removes some functionality. This removal of support for third-party storage is a good example, or Amazon pushing an "update" to remove the text-to-speech feature for many (all?) books.

    There are all sorts of arguments made about software because we're typically sold licences, not an actual copy of the software. But in cases like this, we've actually bought a physical object. It's now ours, not the manufacturer's. So do they really still have the legal right to reach out an remove features? They advertised a function, which it now doesn't have. It feels like a sort of retroactive false advertising. A lot of Xbox owners will now need to spend extra money simply to restore the original functions; if they'd known this was necessary before purchase they might only have been willing to buy the XBox at a correspondingly lower price, if at all. So as MS have changed their end of this bargain, surely their customers should have the right to change theirs? A partial refund (to represent a lower original price) or the option of a full refund both seem fair to me,

    I know people can, in principle, unplug their XBox to avoid accepting this update but then, again, they're losing the functionality that was originally advertised and that they originally paid for. Does this seem fair to anyone? Does it seem legal?
  • Re:Audacious. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:09PM (#29800153)
    MS has never suggested anything like that, it's pure speculation from analysts. From your linked article:

    But that $50 price may double over the next few years, according to financial analysts. [...] "I doubt that MS would start raising the price of XBL, they have to compete against the PSN which is free and has all the same features. What ever you may think of MS they are not stupid," said another.

    I personally doubt MS will increase the cost given they keep adding marketing features to the dashboard. I think they're more likely to look for added revenue via paid marketing and other 'premium downloads' type marketing much like we're beginning to see (such as the the "avatar marketplace").

  • by oldmankdude ( 1196325 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:18PM (#29800265)
    MS can identify the drives already by what they call HDD SS (security sector). If you rolled your own drive, you more than likely used somebody else's HDD SS (one that said your drive is 120GB). What we don't know is if MS is going to scan for them!
  • Re:Audacious. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by debrain ( 29228 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:46PM (#29800647) Journal

    I agree wholeheartedly and have an anecdote to boot.

    I have an Xbox 360. I copied Mass Effect onto the Xbox 360 so that it would load and run faster. I then proceeded to 'rent' a movie (Troy) in HD. It took around 30 minutes to be able to get Xbox to accept one of my credit cards (incidentally no feedback was ever given as to why it was rejecting them). Finally, the Xbox accepted a credit card I rented the movie and it refused to download because I lacked space. So I started deleting all the "little" games and so on from the Xbox (i.e. everything but Mass Effect, because I didn't want to have to wait to load the whole game back on there). Deleting all the little games took around 30 minutes because you have to individually delete every game through the user interface, and there apparently was a plethora pre-installed (how hard is a "delete every game I've never used" button?). I finally conceded that I would have to delete Mass Effect in order to be able to fit Troy onto the 20GB hard drive (this became apparent only after I had paid for the movie).

    As a result of my experience, I bought a PS3 and get all my content through that. The Xbox collects dust. I'll never download another movie through Xbox again, and it's actually fairly unlikely it'll ever be turned on again. Had the Xbox come with a bigger hard drive (who even makes 20GB hard drives? honestly.), or it been cheap to get an external drive, I may have just kept using it instead of getting the PS3.

  • by GoochOwnsYou ( 1343661 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:03PM (#29800873)
    I had a 20GB Pro and I upgraded to a 120GB not too long ago. I gave my 20GB to my best friend because she had an Arcade model.

    With that being said, I must give Sony and Nintendo credit, PS3 supports any USB storage or 2.5" SATA (I have 500GB) thats formatted in FAT32 (nobody's perfect) while Nintendo supports any model SD cards up to 32GB SDHC which is "good enough" for the Wii.

    I see this path going down the same way the controllers did

    History lesson: since 3rd party controllers have died out they have doubled in price or more(at least in Australia. Even as far as last gen a wireless Gamecube controller 3rd party was $AU30, regular Gamecube, Xbox and PS2 controllers were about the same price both official and 3rd party.

    Current prices:
    360 Controller $AU64
    Wiimote = $AU60, Nunchuck = $AU27, so for a usable control system thats $AU87 Dualshock 3 = $AU99

    Prices may vary depending how well you shop around but you get my point. They are all way above the origional $30 price point for an extra controller.

    I wonder if Microsoft are trying to plan the same fate for memory cards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:28PM (#29801127)

    And yet it's still locked down. Sony just recently said "no more third party OSes". So while you sit there being outraged like you're on the high horse, you may want to consider that consoles are essentially locked devices.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:41PM (#29801933) Journal

    Isn't locking competitors out of the game sort of like Harley Davidson and their requirement to use only HD oil in order not to void the warranties of the new motorcycles? I believe they lost a lawsuit in the mid 1980's over that and ended up having to supply all warrantied locked purchasers with of their HD oil until they changes the warranty clause. I know MS isn't doing a warranty thing here bit the principle seems to be the same.

    Check out 2302 sections C of the Magnusson-Moss Act. [] I'm sort of thinking that altering the device to accept competitors devices should be completely legal and still maintain a warranty if the interfaces are the same. IE, if the SD car slot is the same as others, then locking you into a single SD card is clearly a violation of the spirit of this. And I'm assuming that a newly purchased Xbox would have warranty disclaimers if you attempt to get around this.

    Any legal minds care to comment on this? I know it isn't the same as a warranty, but I do not know how they arne't brushing against it if not in spirit alone.

  • Not really. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jvonk ( 315830 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:38AM (#29804159)

    The problem only comes when you try to connect to connect to Microsoft's hardware (Xbox Live) or when you're offered free software (Dashboard upgrade)

    Everyone seems to be missing a fundamental issue: okay, let's say I am fine with not being able to connect to XBox Live (lame), but where exactly do I end up when I purchase a new game that demands I upgrade in order to play at all, even offline (like CoD:World at War did)? Now I get to choose whether to lose money on the non-returnable, opened game or lose access to all my saved data and render my memory hardware useless? Swell.

    I actually have one of these Datel devices and an XBox Arcade. My opinion was that this was a better value than purchasing an overpriced/undercapacity HDD. Micro SDHC is cheap, and I could swap them out if I needed more capacity.

    This kind of thing is completely unreasonable: they are intentionally locking out this device for no other reason than to be anti-competitive. At some point, these kind of antics from a manufacturer eclipse any amount of fun that was being had with the item or service. I have reached this point.

    This marks the beginning of the end of my use of the XBox platform for gaming. My current games will work, offline. I can still stream video to it (in a limited fashion) with Vuze, so I will keep using the XBox for that until I get a "real" device for that purpose. It goes without saying that I won't be spending any more money on games, hardware, accessories, or XBox Live--the XBox is going to be gathering dust sooner rather than later.

    The adage is to vote with your money, right? Fine: never again, Microsoft.

    Never again.

  • Re:Absolutely not. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:45AM (#29804189) Homepage Journal

    Automakers may have done that, and also quit selling shop manuals to the public to try to lock customers in, but many techs at dealers have posted torrents. I just grabbed WIS for one of my cars the other night because the manufacturer no longer makes the manual available to the public, so it's either download it off a torrent or pay a "pirate" $20 for a "counterfeit" copy. The thing is, when you buy a car, you should also get a service manual. You WILL need it.

  • Here we go again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keraneuology ( 760918 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:39AM (#29804911) Journal
    See United States v IBM, 1936, USSC ruled that it was a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act for IBM to require the use of IBM brand punch cards in their machines. Exact same thing here.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:38AM (#29806333) Homepage Journal

    Check out 2302 sections C of the Magnusson-Moss Act. I'm sort of thinking that altering the device to accept competitors devices should be completely legal and still maintain a warranty if the interfaces are the same.

    The act says that Microsoft can't deny you warranty protection. It doesn't say that they can't make the device refuse to take non-certified accessories. Sega v. Accolade says that it's legal for manufacturers of compatible devices to take necessary steps to make the console believe their devices are certified, and so on.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?