Three and a half years since it launched, the Xbox 360’s modest DVD format is now struggling to keep up with demands of modern game development, and the solution may not be as simple as “put disc 2 in tray”.
Forza 3 will soon ship on two 360 discs, with one holding the core product and another hosting additional content. However, news site Joystiq reports that, because of the two-disc set-up, not all 360 owners will be able to access all the game’s content.
At the same time, questions are being placed on whether Metal Gear Rising will be able to fit on a single dual-layer DVD; Kojima once infamously stated that Sony’s Blu-ray format wasn’t big enough to fit in everything MGS4 had to offer.
Forza 3 developers Turn 10 has confirmed how the full Forza 3 experience will work. The additional content on disc two will be downloaded and stored on the Xbox 360’s hard drive. The game itself will run from the core content on disc one and, as the game is being played, data from the hard drive will be accessed to provide the additional content.
But the 360’s basic Arcade SKU, of course, doesn’t come with a hard drive; a near-certain indication that 360 Arcade owners will not be able to play the full game.
Turn 10’s John Wendl promised that “even disc one is bigger than any other racing game out there.”
When Microsoft released its HD-DVD Drive – which could read discs with a capacity as large as 30GB – in November 2006, the company made it clear that the format would not likely be used for game production.
Peter Moore, Xbox’s former corporate VP of worldwide marketing and publishing, said in January 2006 that the company would consider employing a Blu-ray add-on if the HD-DVD format ever failed to develop.
Ever since Microsoft ceased manufacturing of the HD-DVD hard drive in February 2008, the company has continually distanced itself from the possibility of employing a Blu-ay device.
On Monday at E3, the firm announced that the Xbox will soon be able to host live streaming 1080p video on demand, in what the company called 'instant on' 1080p, thus seemingly replacing one of the main advantages that Blu-ray offers consumers; much more space for much more detail.
With key reasons to turn to Blu-ray extinguished, it is now likely that the Xbox 360 will forever remain tethered to its DVD-9 format. Just over a third of the way into Microsoft's promise of a ten year support cycle, size problems are not going to get smaller for the company.