Xbox 360 disc format getting updated; are multi-disc games a thing of the past?

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It’s nearing time for an Xbox 360 dashboard update, and with that, there’s a new preview program – essentially a beta where users can sign up to test the system update before it goes live to the masses.

There’s something different about this update though, because this time it’s only available to US citizens. Why?

According to Xbox’s Major Nelson, one of those reasons is that the system is being prepared to accept a new disc format, and the discs – Halo Reach – can only be shipped out within the US.

“We are conducting an open call for US based participants* for a public preview to help us prepare for an updated Xbox 360 disc format,” says the Major, with the caveat that “*Due to disc distribution limitations, this beta it will be limited to residents of the United States only.”

With the Xbox 360 already so far in its life cycle, what could this update be? As it’s a software update, it could be for a DVD-laser compatible format, not unlike the CD-based GD-Rom system the Dreamcast used, that could allow for increased disc capacity; something to help it better compete with the high capacity on offer from Sony’s Blu-ray standard. More likely though, it’s to implement a new kind of security to cut down the rampant piracy that plagues the system. It could actually be both.

Rumours say it’s XGD3 – Xbox Game Disc version 3 – which increases available storage to developers as well as improves on security.

What are your thoughts? Shall we see the end of two (or three) disc games on the 360, or will we see – at least temporarily – a decrease in 360 piracy?

Those of you who’re in the US, you can register here. If accepted, you get a free copy of Halo Reach for your troubles, so it’s probably worth it.

Source : Major Nelson

Last Updated: March 30, 2011

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