It is official. Major Nelson of Microsoft confirms that Xbox 360 is adding USB memory support on April 6th. This new system update will let gamers use their USB as additional memory for the Xbox 360. Users can utilize this for saving profiles, game data, demos and much more. Up to 16 GB per USB is supported. What’s more, two devices can be hooked up simultaneously to the console giving users up to 32 GB of added USB memory.

The Xbox 360 Elite consoles come out of the box with 120 GB HDD and 120 GB HDD. The Xbox 360 Arcade has 256 MB and 512 MB onboard memory.

Major Nelson however encourages users to use flash-based storage rather than the spinning media to maximize their gaming experience. Xbox is also partnering with SanDisk to release an Xbox branded USB flash drive in May. This drive will come pre-configured out of the box and ready to go. After the release of the system update on May users can use over 1 GB with the Xbox 360.

Unfortunately, the system will not be able to automatically configure the device once it’s plugged in. To configure the device, users have to go to the system settings, select their USB Device, and select Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or if you are just setting aside a parcel of the drive’s available space, choose Customize.

What it Means

This upgrade will thrill all those Xbox 360 gamers who have found themselves in want of storage space. The ability to save profiles and game data to another device will also make it possible for users to bring their games with them to their friend’s house. That is, if that friend is also not bent on a finishing a game of his own.

This upgrade news left most Xbox users in a speculative mood. Is this the pre-cursor of Xbox Slim’s use of USB device? Joystiq’s interview of Ben Heckendorn, a modding artist, delves on the possibility of this happening. Apparently, based on the leak of Xbox Slim’s motherboard, there are no indicators that this device will use memory cards.

The 16 GB limit to the USB support also gathered some flack. Since 16 GB drives costs $75, Heck believes that most users will be concerned with the cost and not the limits. eBay however offers this devices for as low as $30.