It's time for Xbox 360 to adopt Blu-ray

Opinion: Capcom's troubles with Lost Planet 2 have made DVD look decidedly 'last-gen', says Tim Ingham...

Allow me to slip into my flame suit: I love my Xbox 360. I mean I love it. It's the console that's given me more gaming pleasure than any other; the console that made me buy an HD telly; the console that dragged me kicking and screaming away from my PS2 and into the next generation.

I unashamedly play it more than PS3. Hold your breath Sony fanboys: That's not because it's better in any way. The PS3 is an incredible machine.

My reason is far more anecdotal: Xbox 360 arrived first, and quickly earned my loyalty. After a decade of never looking past PlayStation controls, the Xbox pad now feels more natural; its interface more friendly. Microsoft's charm offensive has won me over - and I admit, I feel a degree of constancy for its joy-harbouring machine.

It's why the plentiful PS3-supporting, Blu-ray-heralding bean counters have never bothered me one iota. Doleful comparisons of processing power, HD screenshots and (painful...to...write) disc storage space leave me cold; an over-complicated distraction from the critical point: It the game in question any good?

That is, until last week - when suggestions of 360's shortcomings first struck uncertainty into my green-tinted faith.

The inconsequential dogma of number-crunching Blu-ray obsessives is never going to persuade me of anything other than their own need to leave the house once in a while. But when a respected developer on a huge franchise like Lost Planet - an Xbox-allied one at that - tells me they have to hack out chunks of their game out to fit it on Xbox 360? I smells trouble in the air.

We're not talking about the pie in the sky ideas of Hideo 'let's fill up a disc with four hours of FMV' Kojima here, either. This is Capcom - one of the most pragmatic developers out there - admitting they're releasing a game on Xbox 360 that doesn't hit the highs they hoped for due to the limitations of DVD.

Call me na´ve, but ever since I was a sticky-fingered, arcade-loving teen, Capcom has been synonymous with delivering cutting-edge experiences - without pushing technology for technology's sake. This was not good news. For the first time - even for a hard-to-dissuade 360 supporter - DVD has started to look last-gen.

"The edited content was way too much and dealing with that was more difficult than anything," said Lost Planet 2 producer Jun Takeuchi. "This time, truly, the content that was cut was significant... we had to wrestle with disc space."

Right on cue (and no-one's telling me this wasn't deliberate) Sony's tech director for God Of War III tells us that the must-buy title wouldn't be able to fit on anything but Blu-Ray. Scratch that, dual layered, 50GB Blu-ray.

I'm not one of those with blind, unwavering belief in Microsoft's hardware (two Red Ring veteran, me), so I shouldn't feel shocked. It's just that, all of a sudden, Blu-ray looks beefy and superior: Whereas once it was the ostentatious nouveau riche, now it's the wealthy, landowning upper class - leaving DVD very much in the gutter, looking at the stars.

Aaron Greenberg told CVG a fortnight ago at X10 that 360 isn't even "half-way through its lifecycle" - as we sat unbeknownst to the diminished Lost Planet 2 blaring out in the background.

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