Microsoft's next Xbox 360 system update will implement a new disc format, the company announced today.
The company has not provided any additional details on the updated disc format. However, it is asking U.S. based participants to sign up for the Xbox 360 System Update Preview program, which will allow the company test and prepare "an updated Xbox 360 disc format."
"This is an important update as we continually strive to improve our products and we could not do so without the help of our great Xbox community," said Microsoft's Major Nelson.
As part of the preview program, participants will receive a copy of Halo: Reach along with other possible rewards, Microsoft said.
Interested participants will need to visit the Microsoft Connect site
and sign in with their Windows LIVE ID that is connected to their Xbox LIVE Gamertag. Once they complete the survey that is presented to them, the Connect site will provide program related updates and they will receive a mail once the selection process is completed, Microsoft added.
The company added that the multiple thousands of participants are needed for the preview program and that Xbox Live Gold members will have priority over Silver members in the selection process.
There has been much speculation in the past on the possibility for Microsoft to add support for the Blu-ray Disc format in its Xbox 360 game console. However, this should not be the case here, since implementing Blu-ray requires updated hardware and not just testing. Of course, Microsoft could also come up with an external BD drive for the Xbox 360 that will be distributed to the US-only participants of the Preview program. Such a drive could allow Microsoft to offer 3D movie content to the owners of Xbox 360 consoles.
Other options could include a new anti-piracy technology related to Xbox 360 game DVD-ROMs or a even a higher capacity DVD-ROM - actually by freeing sectors on each disc used for storing security data.
For sure, the truth behind Microsoft's mysterious "new disc format" will be soon unveiled.