The reason mega games like Metal Gear Solid 4 have to be loaded onto your PS3 is because the transfer rate of early generation blu-ray drives is exponentially slower than DVD. Without preloading there would be a load screen every 5 minutes in PS3 games. Or the traditional load screens would be 3x as long, or longer. But Microsoft doesn’t want to be left out of this preloading craze, so the New Xbox Experience coming this month for the 360 features the ability to preload entire games onto the hard drive.

The video showcased below demonstrates the efficiency of preloading games on the 360. Playing Grand Theft Auto IV preloaded versus on the DVD results in 12 seconds faster load times. So it looks like it does make things better. Unfortunately my 20GB drive is sitting with only 4.6B free at the moment. I don’t think I’ll be taking advantage of this hard drive specific feature any time soon.

I understand this plan, but it’s a contradiction to Microsoft’s stance that the 360 doesn’t need a hard drive. You can see evidence of that in the Arcade model, which dispenses with the hard drive for Wii storage. Sure this is a worthwhile feature for the few and proud who can utilize it. For the majority of us we’ll just continue loading from the disc. Perhaps for those extra 12 seconds you could start to make a sandwich or something.

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