BioShock Infinite needs 3 DVDs and 30GB of your hard drive space. Can we do better with Blu-ray?
By PalZer0 on January 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm
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With the recent announcement that BioShock Infinite would require a 3 DVD install and 30GB of HDD space (along with previous titles having 20GB+ installs – RAGE, Max Payne 3 and Hitman Absolution to name a few), the time has come to ask the question: Should game companies be using Blu-ray for PC game installation media?
Before presenting my view on this, let’s look at the specs.
DVD vs Blu-ray – by the numbers
Dual-layer DVDs hold approximately 9GB of data. This causes certain games to have multiple discs for installation (three in the case of BioShock Infinite and Max Payne 3 – and that’s with heavy compression on disc). In contrast, Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50GB of data when using a dual layer disc (25GB for a single layer disc). This is up to about five times the amount of data that a dual layer DVD can hold.
The benefits of switching to Blu-ray
The first benefit of switching to Blu-ray is pretty obvious. The extra amount of space on a Blu-ray disc means less disc-swapping. This leads on to another benefit — less disc-swapping means less wear and tear on the eject mechanisms on Blu-ray drives, meaning the drives will, in theory, last longer.
Along with this, the extra space available on Blu-ray will make it easier to include high-resolution textures for PC games on the disc (and who doesn’t love high-resolution textures?). This will, in turn, make PC games look better.
Also, given that most PC games are also released on PS3 (which uses Blu-ray as the standard format), it wouldn’t be too hard to factor PC discs in Blu-ray disc production orders for when games get shipped.
The negatives of switching to Blu-ray
Blu-ray discs tend to cost more which could end up driving up prices of games at stores (which would have a flow-on effect to digital pricing). Along with this, it can be a bit of a hard sell for people who don’t have a Blu-ray drive in their PC to get one installed.
What if I don’t have a Blu-ray drive in my PC?
These can be had for as little as $54 for a DVD burner/Blu-ray reader combo drive (prices sourced from StaticIce) and they’re dead easy to install. Remember when you replaced that old CD drive with a DVD drive? The same process is used when replacing a DVD drive with a Blu-ray drive (it’s made even easier with the prevalance of drives using SATA instead of IDE).
Game companies should start using Blu-ray discs for PC game installation media going forward. However, this shouldn’t be done in a rush. It should be done in stages (start with games requiring three DVDs or more – preferably with a Blu-ray version sold in tandem with the DVD version for a while) and gradually work backwards from there when people start getting comfortable with the idea – with the ultimate outcome being Blu-ray discs becoming standard issue much like DVDs are now (and before that, CDs).
When people start getting comfortable with Blu-ray drives as a requirement going forward, developers can add in all the high-res textures packed onto the disc. It would also help save money in the long run on disc production and packaging costs as there would only be 1 disc to pack per retail unit instead of 2, 3 or more.
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.