Redmond (WA) - Microsoft is allowing developers to have games use the Xbox 360 hard drive, a requirement that could systematically weed out owners of the Core version of the console.
Despite previous guarantees by Microsoft to the contrary, the software giant told a group of developers this week that more capacity-intensive games can make use of the Xbox 360 internal hard drive, requiring players to have enough free space, according to PC World.
"Feel free to require 30GB for your game." However, "that's just going to make your potential audience a lot smaller," Microsoft reportedly said.
There are a few Playstation 3 titles that require some sort of "core file" on the PS3 hard drive for the game to run, but all versions of the Sony console include a hard drive, and soon the only model will be the 80 GB unit.
According to industry estimates, around 20% of connected Xbox 360s do not have a hard drive. The basic model of the console, the Core model, does not include any hard drive space. However, users can purchase an HDD peripheral to attach to the system.
The move by Microsoft even further blurs the line between console and PC gaming. Consoles were originally heralded as plug-and-play devices but in the next-gen life cycle, technical requirements are becoming a big part of game specifications.