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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Flash Drives are Expensive and Why There’s Nothing Wrong With That

When Microsoft revealed their officially branded, pre-configured USB flash drives that will soon be released to take advantage of the Xbox 360’s soon to be unlocked ability to support additional means of storage (via an update that will be released April 6th) many gamers were in uproar due to the relatively high price of these flash drives. These people were hurling all kinds of complaints at Microsoft, calling the flash drives a rip-off, overpriced and saying that Microsoft “should be ashamed of themselves”.


Now, to an extent, I agree with some of these complaints. Are these flash drives expensive? Yep. Are they overpriced? Most definitely when you consider that third party options are available with just as much storage for half the price or even less depending on where you look. And therein lies the problem I’m having with their arguments. Third party options exist. So, if someone were to ask me, “are they a rip-off?” I would reply, “no, not as far as I’m concerned”.

I’m fine with calling them overpriced because, well, they are and I can’t see why anyone would want to buy them over a third party drive. In my eyes, something can only be a rip-off if no other options are readily available. That is clearly not the case in this scenario. Microsoft’s flash drives are not even on the market yet and flash drives that can be used with the Xbox 360 (it supports up to 16GB per drive) have been available in varying capacities for years now.

I would agree with the detractors if Microsoft somehow made it difficult to properly format a third party flash drive for use on the Xbox 360 but, as has been seen on just about every gaming blog out there, the setup process is as simple as scrolling over to the system settings, clicking “Memory Options” and hitting “configure now”. Three steps which will likely take no more than a few minutes to complete and should save you a great deal of money over going with Microsoft’s pre-configured flash drives.

What is likely the problem here is that people are still upset with Microsoft over the unreasonably high prices they charged for their proprietary Xbox 360 hard drives and memory cards and with those upset feelings, I can sympathize. I agree wholeheartedly that the prices Microsoft was and still is charging for the Xbox 360’s hard drives were obscenely high ($130 for a 120GB hard drive? What?) but fortunately, in this case, you have the option of looking to third parties for your storage needs. Because you have the freedom to choose whatever storage options you like, what problem should you have with Microsoft? If you don’t like their prices then, by all means, buy from someone else.

What Microsoft is doing here is exploiting of consumer ignorance. Now that sounds horrible, sure enough, but, news flash kids, just about every company out there does this. Welcome to the wonderful world of capitalism. Neither Microsoft, nor any other company is at fault for anyone being an uninformed consumer. The reason I don’t have a problem with what Microsoft is doing is because it is not their responsibility to ensure that you are informed when you enter the marketplace. It is your responsibility to do the research necessary to make informed buying decisions. If you do end up making a poor choice as to what to do with your money, then you have no one to blame for yourself for not doing the proper research.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject of Microsoft’s officially branded USB flash drives. As overpriced as they may be, they’re hardly a rip-off.

About Justin McBride

My name is Justin McBride and I’m a guy who enjoys writing, playing games and writing about playing games. Sound lame enough yet? Well, I have other interests as well such as hanging out with friends, watching TV, going to the movies from time to time, surfing the internet, listen to good music, drive at speeds I shouldn’t be driving at and so on. The problem is, that’s all stuff everyone likes to do, so why write about it? Oh wait, seems I just did. Oops.

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  • Chase Lewis

    Get off Microsofts dick, theirs alot wrong with that, many kids play xbox 360 and their parents are gonna be the ones to buy them a microsoft flash drive out of ignorance, or just because the kid is so young they don’t know any better.

    So its shame on microsoft for being such a greedy company.

  • DragonKnight

    You seriously need to stop writing. This isn’t as bad as your “article” about PS3 fanboys, but I wouldn’t be proud of it either.

  • Sanzee

    Dude, come on! Of course it’s bad. What about those of us who JUST bought expensive Xbox 360 memory cards, but now won’t be able to use them once the April 6th update hits! I paid 40 bucks for my 512MB card, which I use everyday. Now it will no longer work, so in order to have a memory card, I have to spend another 70 bucks on a flash drive! What the f*ck?! I hate you Microsoft. I’m getting a PlayStation 3.

  • Sam

    “Why you write stupid shit to try to get website hits and make money for writing stupid shit.”

  • Yeah, whatever

    Of course you would say that. You were the one who wrote any article about how Sony fanboys are the *worst*. Get over yourself, really. Defending Microsoft’s capabilities of ripping people off? How interesting.

  • If those people buy the more expensive Microsoft branded USB flash drives out of ignorance, then that’s not Microsoft’s fault. It’s the fault of the consumer for not investigating other options. 🙂

  • Umm…nah. I think I’ll keep writing. It’s fun to stir up the pot now and then.

  • Indeed I was.

    I just wanted to present another side of the story. If you don’t like it, well, them’s the breaks. 🙂

  • Jake

    I agree with you. I currently work at a retailer that sells gaming accessories, the only ones your going to see fairly decent prices are the third party accessories. With a little research, you can find out that if your in the market for a console, try looking towards console bundles, as you can actually save quite a bit and STILL get first-party gear. Another route is that you can always find what your looking for online and various websites that have special deals, with the only downside either shipping/handling charges, or delivery time.

  • Well, I’m glad I’ll be able to use my third party flash drives over microsofts overly expensive products. In fact, it saves me more money than to kill my wallet over the HDD’s.

  • DragonKnight

    You’re not stirring up the pot, you’re making people laugh. You are never right about anything say, your opinion is drivel, and you’re a complete Xbot.

    What kind of moron agrees that something is overpriced but at the same time doesn’t consider it a rip off? A rip off is when something is obviously overpriced for either the function or the quality of the product. In this instance, SanDisk makes the drive and puts the MS logo on it, making it no different from any other USB drive. That makes it a rip off considering the alternative. The lack of alternatives doesn’t make it a rip off, it’s function, quality, and the gouging of customers with its price make it one.

    You are without a doubt the most delusional excuse for a journalist, even though you are just a wannabe, in existence.

  • Aww, I guess I struck a nerve with you poor DragonKnight! Would it make you feel better if I completely bashed Microsoft for everything they do and endlessly praise Sony? Then, would you be satisfied?

    Quite frankly, your opinion on this matter doesn’t concern me. If you disagree, that’s fine, but no need to insult my character. After all, insults are the last resort of the man who’s backed against a wall and has nothing better to say.

    I do not view it as a rip-off because other alternatives exist. If I had no other choice, then I’d see it as a rip-off. Your opinion on what is and is not a rip-off is not universal, as much as you may like to believe it is.

    So, you can continue to be as childish and ignorant as you please. Trust me, you thinking I’m a poor excuse of a journalist isn’t causing me to lose any sleep.

    Besides, who’s more sad? The man who expresses his opinion respectfully and tactfully in writing? Or the person who feels the compulsive need to troll and deride that person instead of actually attempting to argue against them in a civil and respectful manner?

    The answer may yet surprise you, young one. 😉

  • Joe

    Maybe if u didnt insult dragon right before you asked who was more sad I could take u seriously but your just a hypocrite keep on defending corporations and stuff like this will just get worse and your not even worth using punctuation so dont bring it up

  • Apparently, I’m not worth using proper grammar and sentence structure on either. 😀