Spring has sprung, we've hopped past Easter and now the Summer is only about two months away so there's only one thing on the minds of folks in the video game industry - data storage.
Confirmations are fleeting everywhere that an Xbox 360 firmware update will finally allow 360 owners to use USB flash drives for additional media storage. That means game data and other media can now be backed-up and stored outside of the Xbox 360.
But just wait a minute.
Much like the PS3, the size said external media storage devices cannot exceed 16GB and must be larger than 1GB. That quickly dashes one's hopes for circumventing Microsoft's pricey hard drive upgrades by attaching a 1TB external hard drive.
To add insult to injury it is unclear if third-party flash drives are even compatible with the Xbox 360 as Microsoft announced Xbox 360-branded flash drives manufactured by SanDisk. To make matters worse, these 8GB and 16GB USB sticks are priced at $40 and $70 respectively. That's more than twice the price of most USB flash drives.
If you need to back-up your Xbox 360 on an external drive, try your 4-year-old plastic flash drive first.
The Blu-ray Disc Association also announced an upgrade in the storage size of new Blu-ray discs called BDXL.
These high capacity recordable and rewritable discs use three to four recordable layers allowing 100GB to 128GB disc capacity. This a major increase from many existing 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray discs.
A press release by the organization lists the upgrade as ideal for commercial segments such as braodcasting, medical and document imaging enterprises. Why not games?
Since the Blu-ray disc is the physical media format of the PS3, why not integrate upcoming video games on this mega-Blu-ray beauties?
This could also easily pave the way for cross promotion and conglomeration between media by packaging a Blu-ray copy of a popular film release with the video game tie-in on the same disc. This coupling could also easily work the other way by pairing the upcoming expansion to last year's Street Fighter IV with the critically acclaimed (not really) 1994 film starring Jean-ClaudeVan Damme.
The association also announced the IH-BD (Intra-Hybrid disc) format. The IH-BD incorporates a single BD-ROM layer and BD-RE layer to "video, but not overwrite, critical published data while providing the flexibility to include relevant personal date on the same physical disc" according to the press release.
I'm not sure what the gaming application is here, but I'm sure it could mean something.