In 2006, I purchased an Xbox 360, on a bit of a whim. I had gone to the store in the midst of a period of snow days, on hearing a rumor that Wiis were in stock. They sold out before I arrived, and with two cooped up and stir crazy kids plus a new HDTV at home, I took home an Xbox 360. I’ve been a big fan of the system ever since, but of course there were a few flaws. One of the most irritating (apart from the red ring of death) was the lack of storage methods.
Back in these olden times, you see, saving your Gamertag or your game progress was a straightforward affair: you stored it to the hard drive. Even though the first models of the Xbox 360 had USB ports, you couldn’t use a thumb drive for storage at all. Instead, Microsoft offered horribly overpriced memory units. These were the only options for quite some time.
As a big fan of couch co-op, along with my kids, we enjoyed playing our games even when we traveled. I remember several trips to visit my in-laws in Michigan, who also had an Xbox 360. We took our hard drive with us in order to play with our save games. Eventually, we purchased a second 360 (an Arcade model) when the boys’ DVD player died, and one of the big upsides to that purchase was the memory card. No longer would we have to pack an entire hard drive between socks and pajamas and hope it didn’t break on the trip.
Not exactly portable, is it?
Later on, the Xbox 360 was patched to with the capability to store information to USB drives. This made our lives much easier. I kept my Gamertag on the hard drive, one kid used the memory unit, and the other a battered old flash drive. If we wanted to play in the other room, it was easier, though still a hassle. It turns out that misplacing a memory unit is pretty easy in a teenager’s bedroom. Not an optimal solution, for sure.
Last year, a great solution to the problem rolled out via a system update. Cloud storage is now available for Xbox Live Gold users. 512 megs of cloud storage is available for each member. So far, this has been plenty of room for storing my Gamertag as well as dozens of save games, with room to spare. Note that you can’t store just any type of data in the cloud; no Rock Band tracks or other downloadable content can be saved this way. This is an absolute game changer as far as co-op is concerned.