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Microsoft's Xbox Live Gets USB Support

Microsoft has added support for USB devices to its Xbox 360 console.

REDMOND, Wash. (


) --


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

has enhanced its Xbox 360 console, adding USB support to the video gaming technology.

Larry Hryb, a director of programming at Xbox, also known by his "Major Nelson" gaming handle, outlined the change in a blog posting Tuesday. A system update, he explained, will be rolled out via the Xbox Live online gaming platform.

"This system update contains support for USB Memory storage devices," he told users. "Sometime over the next few hours when you sign in to Xbox Live, you'll receive a prompt to accept this mandatory update."

Afterfall: Insanity video game.

USB support lets Xbox users save games, demos, and their own gamer profiles, something which could be useful for users involved in long-running and complex games. In a blog posting last month, Hryb explained that users can configure how much USB storage is attached to their Xbox (up to 16 Gigabytes), although two drives can be connected to the console at one time.

Not surprisingly, there will soon be Xbox 360-branded thumb drives up for grabs. The


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drives offer 8-Gigabytes and 16-Gigabytes of memory, according to Microsoft. Available in May, the Flash devices also come with a one-month membership to the Xbox Live Gold service, which gives users access to online multiplayer games.

Last year Microsoft cut prices on its

Xbox 360 Elite game console

, although the company says that its Xbox Live offering is growing rapidly. During its recent second-quarter conference call, the software giant explained that Xbox Live has 23 million members, a 35% increase on the same period last year.

Microsoft shares crept up 2 cents, or 0.09%, to $29.30 on Tuesday, mirroring the modest advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq rise 0.06%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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