Rumor: Xbox 360 update frees 1GB space on game discs

The mysterious "updated Xbox 360 disc format" Microsoft's testing opens up an extra gigabyte of DVD space for developers, rumours say.

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The mysterious "updated Xbox 360 disc format" that Microsoft is testing publicly will create extra space for developers to use on game DVDs, Digital Foundry reports.

The technology fetishists claim an anonymous "highly placed development source" has confirmed to them that the new disc format allows for an extra gigabyte of usable space on Xbox 360 discs. Current game discs use only around 6.8GB of a DVD's theoretical 7.95GB capacity, with the rest being filled up with gubbins such as anti-piracy measures. Digital Foundry speculates that Microsoft is either greatly reducing or outright removing the extra data.

Extra space will allow developers to include more (or higher-quality) textures, sounds, movies, and the like in Xbox 360 games.

As Microsoft's Xbox 360 successor is nowhere in sight and developers are still wringing more performance out of the current console, an extra 15% of storage space would become increasingly useful. It might also have a knock-on effect of improving some multi-platform PlayStation 3 games, as developers re-using assets across both platforms would have more space to play with.

If you're in North America and want to join Microsoft's testing for the new disc format, you can sign up now. Participants will receive a free copy of Halo: Reach for their troubles.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 30, 2011 12:00 PM

    Comment on Rumor: Xbox 360 update frees 1GB space on game discs, by Alice O'Connor.

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 12:33 PM

      Sony can be seen snickering in the corner.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 12:35 PM

        Sony can be seen snickering in the corner. suing their userbase.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 12:37 PM

          They would be #1 right now if it wasn't for those pesky users.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 12:41 PM

            end of line

          • reply
            March 31, 2011 3:11 PM

            You have to actually have a quality library of games to be "in first place."

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 12:38 PM

          You just crossed out the same thing and rephrased it. Are you high?

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 2:46 PM

          Fortunately, their customers are safe.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 6:50 PM

          So Sony's entire userbase is GeoHot and users who used his (well, the actual team that got the key ...) to make homebrew... wait? Was there any homebrew being made for the PS3 or were they just using it to play burned copies of games. Oh wait! They did that not only for homebrew but because Sony took away Linux (which ran really frakkin slow anyway). But wait Sony took it away to TRY to prevent people from doing what ended up happening. Darn Sony for trying to protect content and devs hard work. Darn them all!

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 12:46 PM

      or they could just have multiple disks install to the hard drive.

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 1:10 PM

      Great idea Microsoft, keep investing in 5 year old tech. You're doing great.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:13 PM

        any optical disk based storage is on borrowed time IMO. blu-ray is cool and all for storage space, but slower read speed sounds like it cancels it out as far as user experience

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 2:10 PM

          Not really sure what the alternatives are.

          Downloads to HDD storage isn't viable for a console when you have games regularly exceeding 30GB these days and it's only going to be more next generation. Ignoring bandwidth cap issues many people are dealing with now only offers storage for 30 games on a 1TB drive with no other content stored on the drive.

          Flash? 32GB is still very expensive to produce compared to optical discs. And you're still 18GB short that a double layered Blu-Ray can offer.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 4:49 PM

            What games are you downloading other than MMO's that are more than 10 GB's?

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 6:14 PM

            Come on, there are no 30gb games that need to be 30gb right now. Even on the PC with higher-res textures and such, you're usually only hitting 10-15. PS3 games are swollen with uncompressed audio or eight language tracks or whatever, but it's not like that kind of size per game is truly necessary yet.

            • reply
              March 30, 2011 6:23 PM

              Rage + Megatexture.

              • reply
                April 1, 2011 2:11 AM

                Ya, but I still don't agree with you because MS and Sony will only have to let users put regular or laptop HDDs with any size. With a 2TB drive a 30GB game doesn't THAT much.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:16 PM

        what are you getting at here?

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 1:21 PM

          Obviously Microsoft should be investing in Magical nanobots that coat the discs to upgrade all xbox drives to Purple Bolt drives!

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:18 PM

        The 360 isn't due for a replacement just yet. Neither Microsoft or Sony are going to announce anything new for at least 2 more years. So, this is just going to help in the last part of the 360s life by giving developers additional space on the disc.

        • reply
          March 31, 2011 4:16 AM

          I'm sure at least 1 of the big 3 is going to announce a new console next e3.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:19 PM

        This actually sounds like a pretty smart move. It's late in the console cycle so most developers are pretty familiar with the tech and maxing out the performance they can get from the 360. Now they'll have an additional GB of on-disc storage to use for more game assets.

        The cost for implementing this is probably pretty minimal to MS since that wasted space is just used for DRM dead spots and the DVD-video section that plays when you put a game disc in a normal DVD player.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:19 PM

        actually, they are. Or are you missing something?

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:21 PM

        surely dvd is older than 5 years old

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:31 PM

        yeah like extending windows XP for how long now? server 2003? they are probably the only company that has to invest in old tech

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:35 PM

        Oh god forbid a company continues to support their product so the users AND developers get a better experience!

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:35 PM

        you deserve this pile.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:38 PM

        Great idea Desmond4231, why do we still have cars or computers anymore? They are all over 5 years old! We should have fucking HOVERBOARDS and shit.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 2:01 PM

          I'm not saying don't grow on old tech that's good, and can be advanced. Xbox 360's can't be upgraded (beside HDD) so there's no point in investing into something that can't perform any better than it could 5 years ago.

          Now if they made a new DVD that could hold 230523GB and could be used on any system then sure that's great, but that's not what their doing.

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            March 30, 2011 2:04 PM

            Xbox 360's can't be upgraded (beside HDD) so there's no point in investing into something that can't perform any better than it could 5 years ago.

            Your conclusion doesn't follow from the premise

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 2:06 PM

            An extra Gig really can't hurt, I think it's cool that they are trying. It can only really help.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 2:07 PM

            they are upgrading it - more disc space. they upgraded the hard drive. they added HDMI. the games look way better than the 2005 titles.

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            March 30, 2011 2:11 PM

            Do you understand what they (probably) are doing? This isn't a new DVD drive that is being released. It won't require everyone to buy new hardware.

            All they are (probably) doing is adjusting the DVD formatting on the disc to allow for more space to be used for games. There is basically 2GB of wasted space on an xbox DVD used for DRM checks and the DVD-video session.

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              March 30, 2011 2:15 PM

              so, by your logic, was MS wasting money on old tech by allowing game DVDs to be installed to the HDD? they didn't bring anything new to the table so this was just wasted money, right?

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 2:20 PM

            You clearly have no clue what you're talking about

            • reply
              March 30, 2011 2:47 PM

              Really? I'm pretty sure I do know what I'm talking about.

              • reply
                March 30, 2011 2:50 PM

                Game. Set. Match.

              • reply
                March 30, 2011 3:08 PM

                Probably why you have not responded to a single post proving you wrong.

                • reply
                  March 30, 2011 3:35 PM

                  I'm sorry, I have better things to do then respond to every post.

                  I'm done by the way, I hate dumb console people.

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 3:51 PM

                    He didn't say every post. Just a single one. An anyways, every post proving you wrong essentially states the same thing: This update is just reshuffling the way data is stored on the disc so it's essentially a "free" upgrade.

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 3:55 PM

                    Desmond, thanks for this awesome subthread!

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 3:55 PM

                    Good think you're just a dumb person then! So much better without that 'console' business.

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 4:57 PM

                    And the truth is revealed.

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 5:12 PM

                    this is such a terrible subsub thread. i want my money back.

                  • reply
                    March 30, 2011 9:50 PM

                    cool story bro noob

                  • reply
                    March 31, 2011 3:11 AM

                    "Oh yeah, I misunderstood what they are doing".

                  • reply
                    March 31, 2011 6:50 AM

                    its funny how animals will still fight when backed into a corner, even though they know they have lost.

                    Even funnier when that animal goes "I'm not listening! NANANANANANANANAN!"

                  • reply
                    March 31, 2011 6:57 AM

                    Yeah, it's amazing that console players are able to dress themselves in the morning.

              • reply
                March 30, 2011 3:53 PM

                He's got you there, Korban.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 2:59 PM

            So what is Kinect then?

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 3:03 PM

            The issue is that they couldn't do that without a hardware update. They're not advancing DVD tech - because you couldn't do much with the player hardware already locked down - they're just reducing the amount of stuff on there that isn't game data. I don't think they have reams of top scientists working on this one.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 4:57 PM

          We should have hoverboards. The fact that real life will be nothing like Back to the Future 2 is the greatest disappointment of my life.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 2:40 PM

        ..yes, they are doing great and this is a great idea. sooooo....

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 9:48 PM

        What would you have them do? They have millions of these things in the field and while they are working on the replacement this one is still selling. Of course they are going to invest in their tech.

        Hell why are you bitching because they are still supporting a product?

      • reply
        March 31, 2011 6:48 AM

        Everything about your statement (as it is obviously sarcastic) is wrong.

        They ARE doing great.

        The tech is older than 5 years but is still doing well for its age.

        This move shows that, even though devs have been able to squeeze their games onto that space, MS are still looking for ways to improve what they already have out there.

        I hope they continue doing this until they are ready to release their next console.

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 1:27 PM

      Take that, Blu-Ray!

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 1:57 PM

      GUBBINS!

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 4:55 PM

        heh, she said gubbins

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 2:26 PM

      Either way, the whole physical media problem basically plaques every console in development. Pipes aren't fast enough to download a 50gb game, or even a 10gb game in my opinion. Not to mention hard drives aren't big enough to store a library of 10-50gb size games.

      UGH! Please don't make something like OnLive be the future of consoles. Shoot us all now.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 2:44 PM

        Eh, a nice 3TB HDD could hold 120 games at an average of 25GB each. What I think is going to happen though is reverting back to cartridges via specially made SSDs.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 4:06 PM

          That would reduce their margins substantially unless they raised game prices by a large percentage. DVDs cost almost nothing to produce (a couple bucks with the case). Small drives of any sort would be much more expensive.

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            March 31, 2011 2:44 AM

            It costs a lot of money to make DVDs, boxes, cases, manuals, and then ship them to stores all over the globe...and then you have the upfront costs of distributing millions of games that may or may not ever sell. There is no upfront cost with DD. There is no over / under production costs.

            • reply
              March 31, 2011 2:47 AM

              Ahh I was talking about DD> Not something stupid expensive like carts.

          • reply
            March 31, 2011 6:54 AM

            Yeah, SSD prices need to come down substantially before it becomes viable.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 4:34 PM

          Interesting concept regarding SSD's. Not a bad idea considering you can make an SSD out to any size that your game requires so long as you can still make a profit.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 5:04 PM

        They could do digital distribution WITH discs I think. I don't think they'd ever do this because of the required internet connection, but imagine that every game was unlocked online with a card. They'd be just like the cards that exist now for Gold subscriptions or XBL/PSN money. You could buy just the card at the store for $55, or you could buy the physical disc package for $60, that would look just like today's games. The physical copies would still have an unlock code in them, but you could install 99% of the content from the disc to save yourself the download.

        If the cards were going to be widely used, it would probably be best to just make them as barcodes or something like that.

        They'd like something like this because it would destroy the used games market, and make shopping on the console itself more appealing. However it gets away from the console appeal of "just put in the game and play" and turns it into getting your new game then waiting for it to install.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 5:10 PM

          I find it hilarious that you think the download card would be cheaper than the disc.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 6:35 PM

          Too many people never connect their consoles to the Internet for this to be viable in the near term. I'm with you though, bring on day-one downloads on console. The tech is ready, the market just needs to catch up.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 5:19 PM

        I doubt they would. If they do everything online, all developers and publishers lose relationships with customers since we won't be shopping at GameStop and such. That's pretty much all that represents them when it comes to making a purchase. People like to talk about the success of Apple but it's a lot easier to buy a $1 browsing a menu as opposed to a $60 game. The covers, the people working the stores, and the people there shopping all factor in making the decision to buy the game. Not to mention if it isn't physical, you can't take it to a friend and play it at their place.

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 2:47 PM

      Go back to cartridges, IMO. Atari 2600 size that holds tons of geebees and isn't easy to casually copy or rip without some special equipment.

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        March 30, 2011 4:47 PM

        I imagine that would be horrifically expensive.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 5:09 PM

          It'd totally be NeoGeoTastic

          Although like.. 32GB sd cards are getting cheap, they're still a few orders of magnitude more per MB/GB than optical media

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            March 30, 2011 6:37 PM

            The cheaper flash storage devices (USB/SD) are so unreliable though. What happens when your game card/stick inevitably becomes corrupt and you can't play your game anymore?

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 6:25 PM

        I'm hoping the "next" Xbox will use flash memory. USB3 and eSata (heavily hidden to not immediately look like either) provides plenty of external bandwidth for any method to transfer from flash. Many of the current games are less than 8GB now, increasing this size to 32/64GB would have a small cost that would easily spread over time.

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          March 30, 2011 6:34 PM

          I can't imagine any scenario where the next-gen consoles don't include SSDs instead of platters.

          It makes life a lot easier for developers, both since they don't have to optimize for sequential-transfers and don't have to wait anywhere near as long to access from main memory. It's such an easy improvement too, and probably much cheaper/cooler than dumping the money into speeding up the CPU/GPU.

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            March 30, 2011 6:38 PM

            SSD seems like technology that's suitable for the consoles after next. It's still new enough to massively increase the manufacture cost of the next boxes, which is going to be high enough already.

            • reply
              March 30, 2011 6:46 PM

              At the same time, though, I think they could get excellent bulk-rates and it's one of the components whose price would decrease the most rapidly. Sony's certainly shown the will to pursue expensive components who ramp into profitability much more slowly.

              SSDs have been effective in the PC space where they're simply replacing platter HDs, but if implemented in a standardized environment where they can be assumed? They'd be a long-term trump card if only one of the two consoles implements them.

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                March 31, 2011 3:42 AM

                They'd be great, but I still think they'd be far too expensive (and small). Remember that consoles lag way behind on component capability so they can shave production costs to a minimum. It's why the Xbox 360 shipped with only 512mb RAM and a 20GB HDD.

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            March 30, 2011 7:15 PM

            I can easily see having internal storage of decent quantity using some form of SSD -- probably higher reliability rates. Prices on SSD will need to significantly come down for console adoption (even low ends are more expensive than spinning platters).

            For non DL'd games, I want to avoid spinning discs. Flash is plenty fast MS could easily rope some proprietary connector onto their cartridges to cover up the fact they are using USB3/LightPeak/eSata. Either of those three interfaces will be plenty to supply bandwidth to a cart.

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            March 31, 2011 3:30 AM

            Hybrid seems more likely. I think Samsung already makes those, 32gb SSD + regular platters.

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 2:52 PM

      Now developers can include more release day DLC. GOD. Fucking capitalist swine.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 3:35 PM

        lol, u mad bro? Capitalism makes the world go round. Deal with it.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 4:25 PM

          If you ever get mugged, be sure to explain that interesting theory.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 4:50 PM

            Citizens of a socialist state don't get mugged?

            Or are you alluding to the feeling that you were getting short changed and paying for the privledge? That's the beauty of a capitalist society, if you don't like the product you can go somewhere else. Capitalism isn't extortion.

            What's that, they all do it? Then deal with it.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 4:22 PM

        You think that's [free content] you're breathing? Hmmm?

    • reply
      March 31, 2011 2:19 AM

      wow.. a whole gigabyte of space? stop the presses, microsofts about the revolutionize the industry!

      • reply
        March 31, 2011 3:51 AM

        From a technical stand point, it is pretty amazing but it isn't something the game player will see.

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      April 1, 2011 2:22 PM

      Great! The only thing I care about is Skyrim making use of it!