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Microsoft Looking Into Updated 360 Disc Format, Testers Get Free Game

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Are you one of those people who applies for all of the Xbox 360 system update preview programs but never gets in? This one has your name written all over it. Microsoft is looking for thousands of participants across the U.S. to help prepare for an updated Xbox 360 disc format, and each tester will receive a free copy of Halo: Reach.

Major Nelson announced the program on his blog, specifying that only U.S. users are applicable and Xbox Live Gold members will be favored over Xbox Live Silver users, who can still sign up anyway. Hyrb also stated that party and voice chat will not be affected by the preview, good news to those of us who participated in the program before.

We'd guess that the updated format has something to do with piracy, hence the free copy of Halo: Reach, which will probably feature a couple differences from the standard disc. It won't be long until someone who happens to be a tech expert gets their hands on the new disc and dissects it for all to see. The 360 was hit hard by piracy in 2010, with three games breaking the 1 million illegal downloads barrier.

Head over to the Microsoft Connect site to sign up for the program and your free copy of Halo: Reach. You'll need to complete a survey, as usual, and then you'll receive a confirmation email should you ace the selection process.

The Xbox 360's current DVD drive can read dual-layer discs that store up to 9GB of data, though only 7GB can actually be used by developers. The closest a game has gotten to the limit is Call of Duty: Black Ops, which consumes 6.9GB of space.

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Stuart Macdonald
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