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Wednesday, 30 March 2011 09:33

Registration starts for 360 Preview

Written by David Stellmack

System update to feature new disc format
With an announcement from Major Nelson, Microsoft has announced the opening of registration for the Xbox 360 System Update Preview. The program will only be open to those owners in the U.S. and it seems as if it will not be tested in other regions.

Those interested in registering for the preview are apparently going to be testing the upcoming System Update, as well as an updated disc format. While little is known about the exact nature of the new disc format, some are suspecting that the new disc format could be an effort to extend the amount of data that can be stored on a typical Xbox 360 dual-layer DVD (beyond the 8.5GB/8.7GB that is normally found in Xbox 360 games today).

Of course, the exact nature of the System Update and new disc format are unknown, but those accepted into the preview program will be sent a copy of Halo: Reach as part of the program. It is expected that the update will be contained on the disc as well as new disc format for testing. Beyond getting a copy of Halo: Reach as part of the preview testing, it is possible that participants could also get other rewards.

According to Major Nelson, chances are good that you can get into the testing, as Microsoft is apparently looking for multiple thousands of people to take part. The test is open to both Silver and Gold members of Xbox Live, but priority will be given to gold members first.

The need for larger disc storage capacity seems to be something that Microsoft is exploring due to the fact that game developers are building larger titles that either need multiple discs on the Xbox 360 or have to be altered to fit in the current available disc space. (The PlayStation 3 does not suffer from this issue, as its Blu-ray drive can read both 25GB and 50GB discs.) It is difficult to say how Microsoft might be able to achieve more storage on a DVD beyond the 8.5GB/8.7GB that is the standard.

While some sources suggest that triple or quad layer discs might be possible, we doubt that it is without a firmware update to the drive itself; and even then we question whether the DVD drives in older Xbox consoles will have the ability to read a triple or quad layer disc. Other sources we have spoken with suggest that the new format might have nothing to do with storage at all, but might instead be a new format that Microsoft would like to use to prevent reading or copying of the discs for their console. Right now it is difficult to say what Microsoft might be up to with this new disc format.

U.S. Xbox 360 owners can visit the Microsoft Connect site to register by clicking here.

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+7 #1 fingerbob69 2011-03-30 10:53
For crying out loud M$...just stop flogging a dead horse!

What this industry needs (and I speak as a PC gamer) is an all new Xbox capable of delivering atleast DX11 graphics -using a 6950/560+ equivalent gpu!

It's because you're console is soooo outdated that the rest of us have to put up such graphically undemanding games.
+4 #2 loadwick 2011-03-30 14:55
I totally agree but having read this article i am very worried we won't be seeing a new Xbox until at least 2013/2014.

0 #3 ChuvelxD 2011-03-30 15:51
Cool beans. Unlike most apparently, I have nothing to do with programming, building or selling Xbox 360s, therefor have not much room to complain. So instead of crying because its outdated (which in terms of the console, it isn't), the games are too expensive, the graphics suck and etc, i'll sign myself up to get a free game and hopefully contribute to the next system that comes.

Thanks MS for creating the Xbox 360, it is an awesome console. Can't wait for the next one!
+4 #4 FoxMontage 2011-03-30 18:25
I honestly don't see the next generation of consoles coming until mid-range GPUs are capable of playing high-level graphics at 1920x1080. You have to remember that most games on the 360/PS3 run at 1280x720 / 1920x1080 (interlaced) or below! I think it will be demanded that the next consoles can render all games in 1920x1080 (progressive).

Bumping up the hardware using today's GPUs/CPUs will not have the "wow" factor as per the transition from the previous generation. If the consoles can't make people say wow, then there is no reason to invest in a new one.

It's all about the peripherals these days, apparently.
+1 #5 nt300 2011-03-31 03:06
It's about time MS comes out with a new game console. They should pick up the HD DVD format, it's cheap to make and has more than enough memory on the discs. Single Layer = 15GB
Dual Layer = 30GB
Tri Layer = 70GB
0 #6 loadwick 2011-03-31 17:01
People don't just want a bigger disc for better games. Please want to watch HD movies on their media hub / games console. Blu-Ray won that fight and so MS will have to bend over and kiss Sony's ass and pay for Blu-Ray licence if they want the next xbox to stand a chance.

the only reason the PS3 even got off the ground was the blu-ray drive.

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