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After kicking off Microsoft's showing at recent gaming showcase, E3 in Los Angeles, Halo 4 blew most attendees' socks off with its thrilling rendition of exploring an alien planet, alone. Putting you in the space boots of series protagonist, Master Chief, Halo 4 will be looking to take sci-fi first person shooters to another level when it launches later this year - but seemingly, you'll be needing a hard drive to get the most out of it.
According to the game's official product page on Xbox.com, should you be wanting to take Halo 4 online for its multiplayer mode, whether for co-operative or competitive play, you're going to be needing either a minimum of an 8GB flash drive/USB stick (any brand will do), or, as Microsoft recommend (presumably for speed issues), an official Xbox 360 hard drive. It's worth bearing in mind that when they recommend an official Xbox 360 hard drive, that isn't just standard marketing bumf - they actually mean it, as third party hard drives don't work properly. If you plug in a standard, external hard drive, the console will only recognise up to 16 GB of the space you have available - making it a very expensive proposition.
Although it may seem more than a little bit odd that a Microsoft developed and published game wouldn't work properly on one of their own machines, regular readers will know that this actually isn't the first time this has happened - in fact, for the last Halo game, Halo: Reach, you couldn't play online co-op on a brand new, 4GB machine for months, until support was added through a patch. A few other games are unsupported by the 4GB console too - amongst them being Crackdown, and another Halo game, Halo: ODST. Makes sense, right?
Whether or not it'll be made obvious on the packaging that you need a hard drive in order to play the game online (and whether Microsoft will specify it in a way that everyone can understand), remains to be seen. From our past experience with the issue, though, things tend to get very confusing, very quickly. Simply saying "Hard drive required" won't be enough, as some retailers still list those consoles as coming with a "hard drive", despite the fact that what they actually have is flash memory, of the kind found in iPods, and USB sticks, while saying it needs a minimum of 8GB of space may not help either - do you know how much space you have on your 360 while you're out and about buying a game?
Now that you've read this article, though, at least you won't be getting your fingers burnt. For an easy to follow guide about how to tell if you need to buy a hard drive or USB stick for Halo 4, why not head over to our in depth FAQ, and find out for yourself if you have everything you need to take Halo 4 online.