Microsoft will soon need to address the issue of Xbox 360 storage limitations, according to Rockstar president Sam Houser.
Speaking in an interview with 1UP about the hardware difficulties the developer encountered when making Grand Theft Auto IV, Houser stressed that a lack of storage space on Xbox 360 discs and Microsoft’s non-mandatory hard drive strategy were problematic.
“One of the problems with the 360, and it affects games like Grand Theft Auto if you think about how much content we put in the actual machine, is the fact that they don’t have a significantly larger storage medium than the previous systems. It’s a slightly bigger DVD disc,” he said.
Plus, noted the interviewer, Microsoft doesn’t include a hard drive with all 360 models.
“I think that the 360 is going to have to get ’round this issue we’re talking about. I can think of various ways they can do it. Hopefully, they’re going to adopt one of those in the next year or so, because it’s going to become more of an issue. If we’re filling up the disc right now, where are we going? It’s not like our games are going to get any smaller. I think that issue’s on the table with a bunch of games right now. I’m sure they’ll come through with an intelligent solution.”
Houser is not the first developer to voice concerns about Xbox 360 storage limitations. Earlier this month Rory McGuire, lead game designer on The Bourne Conspiracy, told our sister site CVG that Microsoft should have included a hard drive as standard with every 360.
“In retrospect I wish Microsoft had made the choice to have [mandatory] hard drives like Sony did with the PS3,” he said. “Developers certainly benefit [from a hard drive]. If you have a hard drive, the whole game loads faster. Obviously you’ll be facing a short install time, but the developer benefits from it and you definitely benefit from it as a player. So I think that was one of the mistakes that Microsoft made with the 360.”
Microsoft, however, says it is more than happy with its current SKU lineup, which includes a hard drive-less Arcade unit in addition to hard drive-equipped Pro and Elite models.
“You’re a gamer, I’m a gamer, we’re connected to Live, we want to download content, so for us, we definitely want a hard drive,” Xbox 360 group product manager Aaron Greenberg told Next-Gen recently. “…That’s definitely the right solution for us, and frankly for a large majority of our customers. For my friends that want to go online and get the complete entertainment experience, I definitely recommend that they get the Pro or Elite console.
“At the same time, with the launch of the Arcade console this past holiday, you talk to some of our mass market retailers that talk to a very different type of consumer, [and they’ll tell you the Arcade model] sold out when we originally launched. They’ve performed extremely well.”