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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 GamesIndustry.biz 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.

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Dan Pearson