Microsoft Grows Xbox Memory Unit To 512 MB

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As part of its announcements today at the Game Developer Conference 2007 in San Francisco, Microsoft has announced that it plans to ship a new 512 MB Memory Unit for its Xbox 360 video gaming console and that it is lifting the size cap on games available via its Xbox Live Arcade service form 50 MB to 150 MB.

The Xbox 360 Memory Units are basically designed as a portable way for players to save their games, stats, profiles, and achievements in a way they can toss in their pockets and cart around to friends’ (and competitors’) Xbox 360 consoles. The first Memory Units for Xbox 360 had a capacity of 64 MB; beginning April 3, 2007, Microsoft will start selling 512 MB units at a suggested price of $49.99 in North America; for a limited time, the new 512 MB Memory Units will come preloaded with the Xbox Live Arcade game Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved from Bizarre Creations. Microsoft is also touting the 512 MB Memory Unit’s capability to let Xbox 360 owners download content from some 45,000 Xbox 360 kiosks installed at retail locations around the world.

In case you were curious, Microsoft isn’t retiring the 64 MB Memory Unit; instead, it’ll knock $10 off the price, taking it sfrom $39.99 to $29.99…if you really feel like paying 60 percent as much money for one eight the capacity.

Microsoft also announced it is raising the size cap on games available via its Xbox Live Arcade service from 50 MB to 150 MB—games may now take three times as long to download, but will offer developers more flexibility in designing thei games, adding advanced features, and still keeping games within a size limit that’s more-or-less reasonable for many home broadband connections.

“The new size limit offers developers increased flexibility and continued opportunities for innovative game development, while also ensuring that the millions of gamers on Xbox Live can continue to easily access, download and play all Xbox Live Arcade games on Xbox 360,” said Chris Early, Microsoft’s product unit manager for Xbox Live Arcade and Microsoft Casual Games, in a release. “If you take a look at current games like Roboblitz and Small Arms, it’s clear that our developers deliver amazing game experiences within a compact size limit. Our focus is on continuing to provide developers with an environment that allows for the creation of cost-efficient games and that nurtures an artistic and creative approach to game development.”