When it comes to Microsoft and the Xbox (as with Apple earlier this week), ask and ye shall receive. A major monthly update rolling out to users finally adds much-requested support for external storage, allowing Xbox One users to plug in up to two USB 3.0 256GB or larger external hard drives to supplement the console’s 500GB internal hard drive.
The Xbox 360 worked with external drives, but Microsoft rushed the Xbox One out the door last year without the feature. Given the way games and apps continue to grow in size and complexity, the Xbox One’s 500GB will go fast. At launch, a digital download of Xbox exclusive Titanfall weighed in at over 16GB—and saved games, additional map packs and expanded material could easily double that or more. (Many players also load disk-based games onto their hard drives for better performance.)
The Xbox team suggests in the video below gamers can use their external drives to carry games to play on a friend’s Xbox One, although this process will still be a bit awkward, as players will still have to insert a game disk (or enter a digital sign-in) to verify a game before they can play it.
Along with the good storage news comes word that Xbox One gamers can opt to include real names along with their Xbox user name, so you can keep track of who’s who in that 1,000 person long list of increasingly ironic gamertags. Privacy controls will allow users to control who sees real names on the platform, so you won’t have any disgruntled randos knocking at your door after a winning streak in Titanfall.
Perhaps the most anticipated bit of the June Xbox update is that it expands entertainment apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Twitch, HBO GO, Machinima and over 150 others to all Xbox 360 and Xbox One users—no premium Xbox Live Gold subscription required. The move, originally announced by new Xbox lead Phil Spencer last month, is a refreshing pivot away from Xbox’s draconian premium subscription policy—one factor that might account for sluggish Xbox One sales out of the gate.