Microsoft Allows MMO Developers To Require Hard Drive

Two and a half years ago, I said that rumors that the Xbox 360 would not have a hard drive as standard were evidence that either the speculators, or someone at Microsoft, were on crack.

I thought it was silly for Microsoft to become the first company to make a hard drive standard in a console instead of an option, only to become the first company to remove the same feature.

I thought it was silly to tease developers into depending on the hard drive, and then take that away.

I thought it was silly to divide the Xbox market into hard drive haves and hard drive have nots, because eventually, no matter how strenuously Microsoft asserted the opposite, it seemed inevitable to me that some Xbox 360 games would come to require the hard drive, and that eventually most would.

Some of that came to be almost immediately: the much-touted backwards compatibility feature of the Xbox 360 requires a hard drive, not only because many of the games that feature emulates depended on it (like Halo and Halo 2) but because the emulators themselves need to be downloaded and stored somewhere, although they are conceivably small enough to fit on a memory card.

Final Fantasy XI was the first 360 game to require a hard drive, and Next Generation now says that MMO developers will be allowed to require the hard drive as long as they display the requirement on the front of the box.

The other shoe has just dropped.

Hey, Microsoft-- while you're allocating that $1B charge for ring of death warranty repairs, why not give every Core owner a free hard drive? You might as well.