Today marks the start of the annual Game Developers Conference and Microsoft got off the mark quickly with a new 512MB memory unit for the Xbox 360:
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2007, Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to launch a 512MB Memory Unit for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system and an increase in the official size limit of Xbox LIVE® Arcade games from 50 MB to 150 MB.
The 512MB Memory Unit, available worldwide beginning April 3, 2007, will retail for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.) in North America. The 512MB Memory Unit will be pre-loaded with the hit Xbox LIVE Arcade game “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved” from developer Bizarre Creations Ltd. for a limited time. The original 64MB Memory Unit will simultaneously drop in price from $39.99 to $29.99 (ERP).*
Eight times larger than the 64MB Memory Unit, the 512MB Memory Unit will provide Xbox 360 owners with vastly expanded storage capabilities for gaming on the go, allowing gamers to easily store and transport their gamer profile and save game data, Xbox LIVE Arcade games and Xbox LIVE Marketplace content. The 512MB Memory Unit also gives Xbox 360 owners the ability to download exclusive content from any of the 45,000 Xbox 360 kiosks accessible at retail outlets worldwide.
In case you are not familiar with the Xbox 360 kiosks, they are Xbox 360 freebie filling stations located in retail stores worldwide.
As for the increase in Xbox Live Arcade game size, developers were straining against the 50MB limit and so it was time for an expansion. This would have been awkward with the old 64MB Memory Unit, but with the new 512MB version, the arcade games are still portable.