Many Canadians were disappointed to find out earlier this week they would not be allowed to take part in the spring update preview. The program allows Xbox users to test out new features on the dashboard before they get released to the public. But this time around Microsoft made it clear only Americans would be able to take part. The reason? Those in the program would need a disc mailed to them from Microsoft.
It seemed strange the update would be on a disc rather than simply downloaded to your console as in the past. But if you read the information closely the description of the program explained part of the preview included testing a new disc format. Many speculated Blu-ray...but that's doesn't appear to be the case.
Microsoft employee and community member Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) spilled the beans on his blog mentioning the new format. Further investigation revealed the "special discs" may just be regular Xbox 360 discs with increased storage.
A 7.95GB Xbox 360 disc can hold 6.8GB of game data on it. The rest of the disc space is reserved for anti-piracy measures etc. Digital Foundry claims Microsoft has found a way to either shrink the reserved space or remove it all together, essentially giving the disc an additional 1GB of storage.
The addition of 1GB may not seem like a lot, but in theory it could reduce the number of games which must ship on multiple discs. Of course it's something the Playstation 3 doesn't have to deal with since all the games are on Blu-ray.
I have reached out to Microsoft to comment on the "new format" and will post an update when I hear back.
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