Halo Reach multiplayer crippled for 4GB Xbox Slim owners

Microsoft says problem is temporary, fix is coming as soon as possible

Owners of Microsoft's new 4GB Xbox 360 slim model have been experiencing problems with Halo: Reach which prevent them from playing some of the game's multiplayer features.

No warnings are given in the documentation which accompanies either the game or the hardware model about the lack of functionality - instead users are informed by an error message which reports the lack of hard drive as the problem. The issue was originally reported by gaming blog Nukezilla, which also notes that using USB flash drives to increase storage capacity doesn't seem to solve the problem.

Microsoft has told that the problem is not a permanent one, and hopes that a fix will be available soon.

"We are aware of the issue, and it is a temporary issue. The team are working quickly to resolve it," said a Microsoft spokesman this morning.

However, the official Xbox support FAQ for the game has the issue as the first question on its list, and doesn't appear to offer any hope for a future fix.

It reads: "Q1: The error 'One or more players do not have an Xbox 360 Hard Drive. An Xbox 360 Hard Drive is required to play co-op on Xbox LIVE or system link' occurs when I try to play. Why?

"A1: One or more players do not have a certified Xbox 360 hard drive attached to their Xbox 360 console. Some multiplayer aspects of Halo: Reach require an Xbox 360 certified hard drive. "

It also appears that Reach is not the only game to be suffering from problems on the 4GB flash model 360, Bungie's previous Halo title, ODST, also lacks multiplayer functionality on the machine.

The Bungie forums for ODST had many gamers complaining about exactly the same problem in August, suggesting that perhaps the problem isn't quite as unprecedented as Microsoft has made out.

"So last night I put in my ODST to play some firefight with a friend but then it says my 360 needs a hard drive to play...even though I started a campaign which I saved and quit just minutes before. Any ideas what could be wrong? I have the Xbox 360 4 GB slim," one member complained.

The 4GB slim model only features flash memory, as opposed to a traditional hard drive, and is currently being sold as part of a bundle along with Halo: Reach by UK retailer Comet.

Halo: Reach launched this week worldwide, and is widely tipped to knock Mafia II from the top of the UK all-formats sales charts. It's Bungie's last Halo game for Microsoft before the studio moves on to a new IP.

Related stories

Nintendo Switch on track to outpace ten-month sales of the Wii by 20%

Xbox One X sales predicted to exceed 600,000 this year, adds industry analyst

By Haydn Taylor

Xbox One X sales estimate nearly doubled by IHSMarkit

Analysts becoming more bullish on the new console's prospects this holiday

By James Brightman

Latest comments (17)

Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
GI - that link you've posted is to Comet, not Currys, who are not part of the same group.

I remember hearing about some people having issues with ODST multiplayer after the 4GB launched -- seems a bit sloppy that MS have still not resolved the problem with Reach, as it's their biggest series and they must be intending to shift a lot of 4GB consoles; particularly in a couple of months with Kinect.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Rider Publisher, Hustler UK7 years ago
Meh, I still haven't received a review copy yet… ah, the joys of being "consumer" media. This never used to happen when I was writing for games mags, sniff!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rafael Brown Lead Designer, id software7 years ago
This isn't really a 'problem' for Bungie to solve as much as it is a reality. It is not Microsoft's issue to fix. And its not sloppy, it just is. If consumers buy a 360 without a HDD they cannot expect to play a game with heavy online functionality. This would be like asking to play Little Big Planet with all of its functionality on an HDD-less PS2.
Microsoft isn't going to wave a magic wand to fix things. This has been the case since the launch of the 360. Owners of "arcade" 360 units with some or no flash RAM but no HDDs may expect to use their flash RAM for system patches, basic content patches and the occasional XBLA game but not for full game installs or full game launches.

There is a simple solution. Consumers who want to use all the features of Reach and Xbox Live can buy an additional HDD or buy a HDD enabled 360. Also, USB memory support is not an option for a fix. Launching full game installs off a USB flash stick would presumably open a door to piracy that they might not ever close.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (17)
Derek Manning Senior Game Designer, InstantAction7 years ago
That's pretty bad when you've bundled a game with a system that can only use half of it's functionality.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
But Rafael, your suggestions that consumers should just buy more memory are not reasonable. Were consumers expressly warned when buying the 4GB console that not all games would work properly? Were they warned that they may not be able to fully experience MS's biggest franchise?! If Microsoft had been completed candid and let consumers know that the 4GB console may not be fully compatible with all software then that's something the buyer can decide on at time of purchase, but letting their new audience find this out for themselves and offering no solution other than spending significantly more money is pretty poor treatment.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 15th September 2010 6:03pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrew Wilson 3D Artist 7 years ago
I vaguely recall when Microsoft first announced the Core Xbox 360 they said that everyone would get the same experience regardless of HDD...
With all the digital content they're trying to give us now you would think they would ship every new Xbox with a hard disk!
Anyone got any idea WHY co-op requires the hard disk?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 7 years ago
I do see this a problem from MS Rafael as is appears the internal 4GB are not recognized as a HDD even if the game would only need a few MB to put on the HDD it would just not recognize the 4GB memory as a HDD solution. Since those 4GB are internal storage and not some USB device you would expect that MS can make it possible that the internal storage is recognized as a sort of HDD. There is no magic wand needed just a small change that the console sees it as a HDD.

Having co-op blocked just because the console does not have an HDD while it has 4GB of internal storage is either way a bug or just another try to sell the highly overpriced MS HDDs as long as the memory has enough free space. What consumer doesn`t like to pay 130$ for 250GB while good brand HDD for laptopts can be bought for around 50$ @ 250GB.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Mark Raymond Gamer; Consumer; Blogger 7 years ago
Honestly, it sounds more like a bug more than anything else.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Grant Smythe Editor in Chief / Owner 7 years ago
The X360 S 4gig Kinect unit was originally designed for Kinect, NOT for online multiplayer games such as the likes of Bungie's Halo, MW2 etc etc.

If the retailer who decided to bundle the Console with the game had any brains, they would have known this, instead, they looked at it as a purely financial exploit with profits and units sold in mind.

It's why there are TWO versions of the Kinect Bundle going on sale in November come release time for Kinect. The 4gig Kinect unit and the 250 gig HDD Kinect unit. I know this because I know the ppl involved in that area of sales.

One for those who wish to get on the platform and simple do so for family entertainments reasons, which is a huge new market for MS globally, or for thos e"Already" involved in online gaming, have huge DLC libraries and require storage, and want to grab a new X360 S at the same time as acquiring a Kinect unit and the extras that come with the bundled product rather than a stand-alone Kinect unit.

It's NOT the fault of MS for some retailer doing the swifty and bundling the 4gig unit with an online game that would involve 16 players or more online at the same time per console covering millions of online users at the same time.

That is and never was the design of the X360 S 4gig Kinect unit.

But now MS have to find a 'fix' for this rather than waiting until November when the Kinect officially launches. Personally the 4gig units should not have been ,made available until then, and only sold with the Kinect bundle and then have the option of a 4gig or 250+ gig unit for customers.

The onus falls directly with the RETAIL CHAIN, not MS or even Bungie for that matter.

Believe me, Retailers have no idea of what games require, and 80% or more of all staff, be it in-store of especially in managements and marketing (especially marketing) have no or very little knowledge of gaming per-se or the requirements of it across ALL platforms.

I know this from person dealings with 2 major worldwide chains in upper management and marketing. They are SUITS not gamers. While in one 'major' chains head offices, I asked how many of the staff played games, answer was a staggering NONE, and even the person I was dealing with for in-store and online marketing never played games, and was simply a marketing person out of Uni a few years beforehand.

That says a lot for a company that is simply selling product with little knowledge of the enduser, their customer.

If you want to blame someone that really had something to do with this, then aim it at the retailer who came up with the bundles. You'll find they prob are not even specially POS style products, just the X360 4gig unitr and the game combined as a bundle, nothing more.

The PROPER X360 Halo Reach bundle comes with the specially crafted X360 S, 250 gig HDD special controller, Game and other online goodies. That is THE bundle officially designed to sell with the product, not some half-baked 4gig kinect style X360 S that some retail chain threw together at the last minute to capitalise on the high sales of the game, and to move a none moving item within the chain's stockline.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Grant Smythe on 16th September 2010 2:55am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 7 years ago
The 4GB 360 Slim version was meant as an cheap entry point solution and that still is not an excuse for the internal memory not being recognized as an HDD. The amount of space is not the issue, but the "bug" that the internal storage is not recognized as an HDD, that`s why people can`t play and not because they don`t have enough space.

If you produce different SKU`s of your console you have to ensure that all games are fully working with them. I would not give Bungie the fault here since I did not see a Slim dev kit so far and even then it would not make any sense to have a slim dev kit with only 4GB, but MS should consider using the lowest version (the slim with 4GB internal memory in this case) of the console for the certification testing.

I was considering myself getting the 4gb version because it`s cheap and I did not plan on getting a lot of DLC to play a handful of core games that are 360 exclusive. I have a fair understanding of consoles as a consumer and would have never assumed that with the 4GB version some games would have limited functionality because the 360 thinks there is no certified HDD connected. Given how it looks at the moment I would assume the issue is with the current Firmware. There was no new Firmware update in a while and they simply overlooked that with the current Firmware the internal storage will not be recognized as a HDD.

Anybody has a 4gb slim and knows as what it`s displayed? Maybe a Memory Unit?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Private on 16th September 2010 3:27am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Grant Smythe Editor in Chief / Owner 7 years ago
@ Werner Nemetz :

I agree, and the units should ideally have that facility, but the main question here is, why was the unit bundled with a game knowning that it has a huge Multiplayer contingent out there. Any retailer worth the salt should have known this, asked MS if it was 'appropriate', which they obviously would have said NO . .and made other bundle ideas ..

Yes, I believe the 4gig X360 S should have a small HDD of some kind that can deal with all manner of DLC and gameplay, where in an era now that almost demands it, that is MS's fault.

The fact no real SDK's of the 4gig units have gone out shows even more that the game in question was never meant to be played on it.

Personally I can not see the reasoning behind making 2 SKU's for games these days when a larger HDD is almost mandantory. Developers require the space to store not only games for online functionality, but copious amounts of DLC that are to be used in the future, especially considering EA (and others) are now flush with the idea of increasing DLC games.

The X360 4gig is a step backwards, not forwards.

But all this does not take away the fact that a retailer, in their infinite wisdom, decided to bundle a unit that was not meant for online play - with a game that is primarily online for the bulk of users, and is renowned for it's huge online following.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Grant Smythe on 16th September 2010 3:49am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 7 years ago
Well I would not say no 4GB SKD`s of the slim went out, just that I have not seen any Slim dev/test kit so far :)

I`m not sure MS would have said no, apparently the normal Multiplayer in Reach still works fine just not the Co-Op and I doubt MS was aware of this problem otherwise a day one title updated would be very likely. Plus MS should not have such a big problem with recommending selling the 4GB version as the 4GB 360 is 200$ and the additional 250GB HDD is at 130$ at retail so that totals 330$ while the normal 250GB 360 slim is 300$.

Since this is also an issue with ODST I still think it`s something that MS should be able to fix easy by just having that internal storage recognized as a certified MS hard drive.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 16th September 2010 4:15am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
@ Grant

I agree that this problem should then be the retailers' responsibility if Microsoft made absolutely clear when shipping stock that the console was not intended to be used with certain software, as well as expressly stating this in the console's documentation and probably on the box as well.

If they did not however - and according to this article it does not state this anywhere in the console's paperwork - the fault cannot lie anywhere but at Microsoft's feet. Even if retailers did not do these bundles (and they were always likely to, as Halo is the console's biggest exclusive franchise), what's to stop people who bought the 4 GB a month ago to go out and buy Reach on the back of all the marketing? In which case, who's to blame in this instance?!

Anyway, I always thought the 4 GB was a wierd HDD size. Surely prices have dropped in the last 5 years to the extent that they could have built something a little larger in, and plus it means consumers aren't really able to purchase XBL products or games beyond a very limited capacity.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Neil McPhillips Senior Development Manager, Blazing Griffin7 years ago
Does anyone know if there is a message on the box or in the manual that says "The internal 4gig will not take the place of a HDD and may not be compatible with all games"? If not then I would assume that MS had no idea about this fault until it was raised by a consumer.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rafael Brown Lead Designer, id software7 years ago
Werner, I think the issue is not that Microsoft has a "bug that the internal storage is not recognized as an HDD" the issue is that people are trying to use internal flash RAM as an HDD. Flash RAM is not meant to be used as an internal HDD for game purposes. This is not a misisng feature this is consumers and retailers confusing the two. And as I stated if Microsoft allows flash RAM to be used as internal storage, i am conjecturing that there will be problems with external flash RAM and piracy. Microsoft's obvious decision not to fix this a year ago means that its unlikely they're going to do so now.

And Terrence, the issue is not the size of the flash RAM, the issue is flash RAM vs an HDD. No full disc game installs on flash RAM, period. Hard drives (HDDs) have a set manufacturing cost per drive no matter how large or small. The 4GB 360 is cheaper because it does NOT have a HDD. If one wants an HDD, one drives up the cost per unit, thus the higher priced SKU. Want to have game installs and online play, buy a HDD enabled 360 and pay more, or buy cheaper and don't play online. Those are the choices.

The problem is unrealistic consumer expectation and confusing flash RAM with HDDs.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
That's fair enough Rafael; I did not know the 4GB unit only had a flash RAM as opposed to a regular HDD.

However, I still think this is an issue Microsoft should be completely transparent about - since the 4GB's announcement I don't recall reading anywhere a news piece or press release stating that the 4GB has limited compatibility with online games. It is being sold largely as a low-cost entry to accompany Kinect, and yet some of the Kinect adverts show people playing online, so either Microsoft are knowingly giving out mixed signals or it's not as straightforward as expecting people who buy the 4GB to not play online.

Alas, I cannot check the Xbox website from work to see if they make any mention that the 4GB console is not intended to be taken online, to see what their official stance is on the matter.

Edits because I screwed up the hyperlink.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 17th September 2010 10:21am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 7 years ago
Given how controlled the 360 is sure the device can see the difference between the internal storage and an external flash storage and it`s not like the 360 is piracy free. The system is hacked since ages.

The comparison with the Arcade system and having the issue fixed a year ago is not correct. The arcade did not had a storage where the people had access to freely. The 4GB slim storage on the other hand is free to use for the people how they want i.e. download DLC and use them, download and play XBLA games. Obviously you can`t install a 6GB game on it, but Online gaming works with the 4GB just not Halo`s co-op campaign.

So the choice is not to either buy the 4GB slim and don`t play online since this is not a universal problem. The problem reported is limited to ONLY the co-op of ODST and Reach and nothing else. And there is zero on the MS site saying games are limited when using the 4GB, given the laws in the US I don`t think they would leave that out intentionally so I would assume they where not aware of this issue. And unless the co-op needs you to install the game this is an issue and a bug.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.