J Allard, Corporate VP and Chief XNA Architect at Microsoft, has commented, in an interview with major U.S. consumer game publication Game Informer, that the company may experiment with varying hardware models of the Xbox 360 after its launch, including a package that may not include a hard drive.
"We've said, 'Hey look, don't bank on the hard drive always being there," he explained in the September 2005 issue of Game Informer, discussing Microsoft's warnings to developers on future models. "There may be a scenario in the future where we don't want to have a hard drive, and in that case, we have to make sure that the games that you've created are accessible to the broadest possible audience."
The Xbox 360 system is still believed to be likely to ship with a 20-gigabyte hard drive as a standard feature when it launches this fall. However, Microsoft has stated in the past that the removable hard drive is intended more as an aid to the system's media capabilities such as video and music playback, and developers should use caution when including it as part of gameplay.
However, this latest interview from Allard was conducted before the recent spill the Xbox executive took while mountain biking in Canada. Allard broke his left arm in two places, as well as his ribs, from the fall, according to comments on a Microsoft weblog
that also included pictures of Allard's wrist taken in the emergency room.