Even before that new app smell has worn off from Hulu Plus, Microsoft will launch its annual spring update for the Xbox 360 Dashboard. Images sent to Joystiq by a Microsoft tech support employee reveal that the next Dashboard update will begin rolling out on May 19.
According to the documents, the update will be distributed in six separate waves between May 19 and May 30 “to ensure a high quality deployment.” Additionally, while not technically part of the automatic update, Avatar Kinect is listed for a May 27 arrival as a separate download.
Aside from offering support for the new Microsoft disc format — which will “be used in future game titles releasing later in 2011” — the spring system update will enable PayPal support on the console, extending the payment option “to new international markets.” PayPal will be “the only user facing feature” of the update.
Now you ask what it is this XGD3 disc exactly and what does its introduction mean? Microsoft will introduce the ability to play so-called XGD3 disc formats in the May 19 update, which only means that we should start seeing these new disc formats in future games, probably over the summer or fall. Currently, the XGD2 (Xbox Game Disc 2) formats in use,
the disk image will always have a fixed size of about 6.8GB and as such are limited to this maximum limit.
This new XGD3 format offers around 1GB more memory and size now reaches roughly 7.8GB, this 1GB being readily available to developers of course. However, this is also where the new hash checks and anti-piracy measures are used.
This XGD3 disc image (if one can read in the conventional way), cannot be burned to a commercially available double-layer discs, because they are outside the size capacity. During pressing of the discs in the press shop are virtually forced to insert validation data to the extreme edges of the disc, which on the one hand, for verification and on the other hand, as an anti-copying system, since these sectors are not to able to be written on with conventional burners it may be hard for pirates to burn or even copy new games.
As you might have read in some forums or on “the scene” the last few days, the Beta Dashboard Microsoft released to XBL members accepted as usual into the System Update Preview Program is indeed flashing the firware of some DVD drives (only stout/slim lite-on and stout BenQ). The new beta dashboard, which has also been leaked online already, seems to be 13141/13142 for persons who simplified through LIVE and 13140 for persons who got the green update disc. Besides flashing these drives with a new Original Firmware, it also has a new set of AP2.5 challenges.
Microsoft tried for so many years, to find an almost sure way to stop the “pirates”. This is especially now when times/money is tough and all entertainment industries are being crippled by piracy. Only JTAG owners need not worry or wonder what they have to do next, due to the fact that JTAGers don’t worry about the online aspect of gaming anyway, they just shoot off a short text, tweet or comment, shrug their shoulders and jump to the next topic. For everyone else this means, however, that in future, perhaps no more games can be copied.
(Personally, I welcome this step, but doubt you can ever stop the getting something for nothing aspect of the internet and of media nowadays). On the hardware side, no interference is expected. XGD3 discs will work with all previously released (and future) models of the Xbox 360. Let us know what you think in the comment section or @thesimgamer on Twitter.