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360 Game Installs: Don't Get Too Excited

Word out of Microsoft Germany says some games will show less loading-time improvement than others.

I am never, ever going to finish this game, am I.
I am never, ever going to finish this game, am I.
Amidst all the hullabaloo about the newly redesigned Xbox 360 dashboard--sorry, experience--that's coming at some point in the next few weeks, the ability to load your retail disc games onto the hard drive for faster loading is quietly the feature that had me most excited about the fall update. It's not for convenience's sake, since you still gotta stick the actual disc in there anyway to verify ownership whenever you want to play. But I've been stoked about the idea of games loading faster and generally performing better than they do running off the DVD.

Wait, hold your horses! You may not notice much improvement in your loading times after all, at least when it comes to anything recent. Turns out that newer 360 games have already had their file structures optimized on-disc to minimize load times to such an extent that running from the hard drive won't help much. Older games that didn't get this treatment will still see noticeable enhancement, though. Gizmodo has the scoop, straight from Microsoft Germany.

There are prominent examples, for instance: Project Gotham Racing 3, one of the first games for the Xbox 360. There the load times have been very long; those are going to get reduced immensely. Recent games are already optimized; there the gain is relatively small.

Bummmmerrrrrrr, dude. If that famous precision German engineering can't solve the problem, we're all screwed. I was waiting for this feature to jump back into GTA IV just so it would run more smoothly and get missions loaded faster, but it seems that won't be the case. Guess that's a dumb reason to not be playing one of the best games of the year, anyway; it's not like it runs poorly as is.

On the plus side, at least you won't have to listen to that jet engine of a DVD drive whirring away while you're playing from hard drive.
Brad Shoemaker on Google+