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From Xbox USB HDD to Ubisoft's Steam Shunning - News Roundup 19th March 2010

Jonathan Lester
DLC, Episodes from Liberty City, Hard Drive, Steam, Ubisoft DRM, Valve, Xbox

Xbox 360 to Receive USB Hard Drive Support

From Xbox USB HDD to Ubisoft's Steam Shunning - News Roundup 19th March 2010

Leaked documents obtained by Joystiq has confirmed that Microsoft will be adding support for external hard drives in an upcoming system update. According to a Microsoft Spokesman:

"[due to the] increased market penetration of high-capacity, high throughput USB mass storage devices, a 2010 Xbox 360 system update [will add USB HDD functionality]."

XBLA games, Indie Games, Games on Demand and DLC will be supported by the firmware update, thus vastly increasing the (low) storage capacity of the Xbox 360. We assume that music and video files will also be able to be stored on the external device, though the 360 will require it to be formatted in a certain (assuredly proprietary) way.

As we postulated in Wednesday's controversial news roundup, the ability to attach a large external hard drive to the 360 would allow high-capacity games to be downloaded directly from Microsoft without worrying about limited disc space... but don't get excited just yet, folks. There's a nasty little caveat. Apparently the capacity will be capped at 16 Gb, presumably so that Microsoft's lucrative hard drive monopoly won't be put under threat.

Shortsighted? Yes indeed. But at least it's a step in the right direction. [Joystiq]

Liberty City DLC Delayed (PS3 & PC)

From Xbox USB HDD to Ubisoft's Steam Shunning - News Roundup 19th March 2010

The upcoming release of GTA: Episodes from Liberty City for the PS3 and PC has been pushed back another fortnight due to last minute "minor content changes." Apparently, Rockstar has been ordered to make these zero hour alterations by Sony Europe (SCE).

As yet, it's unclear exactly what SCE wants changed, but apparently it won't change the gameplay in any way. A Rockstar rep assured 1UP that both the "enjoyment of the game" and the rating will remain unchanged. Naturally, we'll keep you up to date with exactly what content's being changed- but we can't think of anything distasteful enough to warrant a last minute delay.

European PS3 and PC gamers can expect to see the two content packs arrive on April 16th.

Valve Remove Ubisoft DRM from Steam

From Xbox USB HDD to Ubisoft's Steam Shunning - News Roundup 19th March 2010

Ubisoft's deeply unpopular DRM protocol that requires constant internet connection in order to play AC2 and Silent Hunter 5 has caused massive outcry in the gaming community... and Valve have finally had enough. Both of these games have been removed from Steam as of this morning. According to a report from CVG, an industry spokesman has stated that the move is symbolic as well as a shrewd way of garnering some positive public image.

"It's the latest in the Ubisoft DRM blow-up. Steam doesn't want to lose its reputation for customer service, and these games have angered its user-base."

Valve have a proud history of making a stand against against things they don't like, and it's great to see them laying the financial smackdown on these two controversial releases.

Ubisoft can ignore the bleating cries of wronged gamers for a long time- but when huge distributors start shunning their games, they're bound to sit up and take notice. After all, they're being hit where it hurts: square in the wallet. This is the first major company to make a stand against Ubisoft's DRM strategy, and it'll be interesting to see if others follow suit. I wonder whether C&C 4 will get the same treatment?

[Steam via CVG]

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