Xbox 360 Star Ocean needs 3 DVDs – why Microsoft needs Blu-ray

December 6, 2008

The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 may be virtually indistinguishable on most levels, but the media format they use is one area where they do differ. With the news that Star Ocean: The Last Hope is going to need three DVDs, does this show why Microsoft needs Blu-ray more than Blu-ray needs Microsoft?

No-one can really blame Microsoft for choosing to stick with the DVD format when it was developing the Xbox 360. Blu-ray wasn’t really a viable format at that stage in time, and even now, three years later, its success isn’t guaranteed. But now could be the time when Microsoft needs to change its mind, and go begging to Sony.

Sony was always going to go with Blu-ray, knowing that any sort of success for the PS3 would mean the format received a welcome boost. And that is exactly what has happened, with Blu-ray limited success so far in becoming the new standard for movies being in large part attributed to the Playstation 3.

Although the decision to put a Blu-ray player as standard in every PS3 was derided at first, it’s now proved to be a good one. As well as pushing the format, and helping it beat the doomed HD DVD, the PS3 Blu-ray drive is another reason to buy a PS3 over an Xbox 360, certainly for people who like their high-def movies.

Siliconera reports that the Xbox 360 exclusive Star Ocean: The Last Hope is going to ship on three DVDs, taking us back to the days of the original Playstation and those 3-4 CD Final Fantasy releases. Though it may be trite to say it, I can’t help but consider this being a backward step when the game would fit rather snugly on just one Blu-ray disc.

You could argue that swapping discs is hardly a big effort, and it could actually be preferable to the mandatory installs that seem to be plaguing many PS3 releases these days. But the whole disc-swapping feels so old-school, and I thought with the next-gen consoles it would be a thing of the past.

There have been countless rumors over the past year or so, ever since HD DVD became dodo-esque, of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray drive, either built in to the console or sold as an add-on, but all have seemingly come to zero. Star Ocean: The Last Hope may just be the thin end of a very thick wedge heading Microsoft’s way, and I suggest it needs to act before games at the end of this generation start needing five or six DVDs. Xbox 360 Final Fantasy XIII anyone?

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