Multiple Game Discs: The More, The Better or Is Less More?

There are some people who aren't happy with the announcement that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto V will contain two discs. This is despite the fact that only one disc will be needed to play, with the other serving as a means to install data on the the hard drive. This got me thinking to how much the perception of multiple discs has changed in 15 years.

During the days of the original PlayStation, we were already being blown away at the big games that were being offered, with all this data that was much bigger than what cartridges offered. However, this wasn't enough even back then and some games, mostly RPGs, started shipping in these thick cases previously only seen for double albums for music. Games like Chrono Cross and Resident Evil 2 had two discs and some like Final Fantasy VIII and IX had four!

Back then, when I owned a game in a thick case, consisting of multiple discs, I felt a sense of pride. For me, I felt like I was in possession of an epic game, something of substantial importance that couldn't be experience in a mere single disc. The idea of being able to complete a game of that magnitude was also a gamer goal I could strive for, one I've only managed to complete with Chrono Cross (which is a game I love dearly).

However, as time has gone on, the idea of a game with multiple discs is often seen as an inconvenience. I am guilty of this as well as I begrudgingly bought L.A. Noire on the Xbox 360 despite my plans to wait to get a PS3, and then buy it on there. That's seems a bit extreme, doesn't it? I had rather spend $300, give or take, and then the game that I could buy on the console I currently had just because I didn't want to deal with swapping out discs.

So my question is why the sudden change in perception? Is it due to us as gamers valuing convenience more now than ever? Did the spectacle of a title being bigger than the format it was on fade away? Is there something different in the way the original PlayStation games were doing it compared to now? When I think of it, I know I like the idea of owning an original disc version of Final Fantasy VII with its multiple discs despite the ability to buy it on the PlayStation Network with no disc swapping required. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's the game cases nowadays that don't hold the additional discs as well as the older cases did. Either way, let me know in the comments what you think.

Another side note: I'm the managing editor for an upstart website called Gaming Precision and we're always looking for new writers. You would write a news story for the site each day but more original content like reviews, previews and editorials are always welcome. This is on a volunteer basis but it's good experience and there is the possibility to move up. If anyone's interested, email me at

6 Comments Refresh
Edited by Oscar__Explosion

People just love to bitch about anything. There's not really much to it other than that. In the GTA V case what is there to complain about? You get two disks but you have to install one of them then you never have to worry about it again. That sounds like a great solution to this "problem".

Posted by xyzygy

This is ridiculous that it's still an issue. It's not a big deal and if you think it is, you're straight up lazy. That's all there is to it.

The change in perception of this is completely baseless. In the PS1 days, a game's disc count signified a lengthy and (usually) quality game. Now it seems that people did a complete flip on it and take it out on the actual hardware. It's just another way that this dumb internet hivemind works. People blow trivial or unimportant things way out of proportion.

Edited by Baillie

Wow, you wrote THAT much for games having more than one disc. I'm not going to bother reading it. I'm just going to say that bigger games with more data need more discs to supply all that game. You either install the other disc(s) and never touch them again, or one every 8 hours change the disc.

Either way, I'm giving up on games primarily due to this caveat. /sarcasm

Posted by EXTomar

I believe both sides are making a tempest in a teapot. I would rather have a seamless setup/install/play experience. If the game has to be interrupted to do something loading screen or a disk swap or whatever, that isn't desirable but hardly a show stopper.

Posted by natetodamax

There's nothing wrong with the GTA V situation, so I don't understand why people are upset about that. But some games split content between discs in strange or inconvenient ways. Mass Effect 3 for example (I think it was 3) had certain side quests on a certain disc. So when you were roaming the galaxy map and decided to check out a planet, you had to switch discs to land on it and then switch again after leaving to do something else.

You no longer feel as if you are getting a big grand adventure when you have multiple discs (especially since the PS3 can do everything on one disc that the 360 can't) but rather that you are being inconvenienced (in many cases).

Posted by Daneian

My concern is that the install means that they are asking way too much of 8 year old hardware, especially since there isn't a listing for a PC version.