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Size Matters On The Xbox 360

We are coming up on the 5th anniversary of the Xbox 360 in November. Five years of games, updates, and DLC crammed onto a 20GB hard drive. For most of us early adopters who picked up the 360 when 20GB was the maximum, we have been forced to shuffle, delete, and re-download content constantly in order to play what we want to play. It is not an elegant solution, but one born out of necessity.

Xbox 360 HDD

Xbox 360 20GB HDD

Microsoft has been offering a 120GB hard drive for quite some time, but the price makes it less than appealing. There was a time that Microsoft made efforts to keep the file sizes on XBLA games under 50MB, and the biggest piece of DLC was horse armor. With the constant evolution of Xbox Live, there’s a dearth of content that is vying for space on our console’s storage, and I don’t see Microsoft attempting to keep file sizes down to something more manageable anymore.

The release of the Blur beta (which weighed in at a whopping 1.44GB), and the upcoming Halo Reach beta has really made me think about how much further the 20GB limit can be pushed. Anyone that’s played the Blur beta has seen the HD cinematic at the beginning. How much of that 1.44GB is just that video? Personally, this is where I think Microsoft should step in. I’m sure they have compression algorithms in place that significantly shrink these files, but at what point do they step in and say, “Is this 2 minute HD video really necessary?”

120 GB HDD

Xbox 360 120GB HDD

I did an impromptu Twitter poll recently asking people with 20GB hard drive how they deal with it and if they are constantly shuffling their content. The responses were essentially the same across the board.

  • MolotovCupcake – I am having to delete things all the time! I keep telling myself it’s time to upgrade, but I torture myself instead. xD
  • Gronar – Full, 4MB free space. But remember, Peter Moore told us all those E3’s ago “20 GB is all you’ll ever need.”
  • Polychronopolus – I still have a 20gb. And it is always full so yes, I’m always deleting sh*t off of it.
  • wargamer – I have a 20GB still. I’ve deleted a lot to make room for new stuff and will again soon. Constantly re-downloading too.
  • TeeTocks – I have to make room often especially when there are betas or demos I wanna try.
  • robertcortez – I still have the 20 and it’s usually almost full (less than 1GB remaining) most of the time. Cleaning out the reefer is a pain.

The easy answer is to go out and upgrade your hardware, but for a lot of people this isn’t an option. Unfortunately, we’re not going to see Microsoft lower the price on the big 120GB hard drive, so what we’re left with is deleting and re-downloading content. It makes me wonder if Microsoft has decided to not enforce any strict size constraints onto newer content in an attempt to force all of us early adopters to upgrade. It may sound devious, but I’m hard pressed to find another reason for the situation we’re in.

So, what is your solution for the small hard drive blues? Are you destined to wait until your console finally dies or the Xbox 720 is eventually released? Should Microsoft be doing more to shrink these demos, betas, and XBLA titles? Or am I just complaining because I’m too cheap to buy a 120Gig hard drive?

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  • Tye

    Getting 250 gb next month. Tired of shuffling with my 20gb. Microsoft better be happy that im not fed up of being a lied to mistress with a man that will never divorce his wife and marry me.

  • bioadam

    Sticking with the 20GB. At least it saves me $, especially with DLC. “Shadow Complex”, “Battlefield 1943”, Games on Demand? Nah! Cheaper to just trade discs, install to HD, play, delete, and trade again. The odd thing is, the small HD is bad for their business. Not surprised MS has started killing the Arcade.

  • Mark Withers. (MarkWithers)

    at the end of last year i replaced all three of my xbox hard drives to 250gb ones as i fed up with deleting everytime

  • spencer

    yeah i had a 20gn drive since i got my 360 in summer 06 but my friend gave me his 120 gb harddrive when he got his FF13 xbox360 so im happy aside frome waiting an hr to transfer my stuff with my transfer cable but oh well

  • James Martin

    I’ve had my Xbox for about 3 weeks now and I’ve had the 20GB drive. It’s annoying as Hell and I’ve not downloaded a single demo for fear of liking it too much and wanting to keep it. That and liking it so much that I need to buy the game…

    It’s about to RROD on me also (it went off today because of overheating) so I don’t know what the procedure is properly but hopefully I might be able to convince them to part with a 120GB drive…and maybe an Elite…:p

  • I don’t know what I did without my 250GB, it is so much easier loading your game right to the HD no more whining 360 while you are playing and if I am done with the game and I didn’t delete off my HD it’s no big deal.

  • woooooo

    I will buy a 250 gig when MS stops selling crappy $40 drives for $100+.

    It’s a friggin laptop drive,set us free ms to upgrade our stuff like Sony does.

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