Microsoft may want to use non-standard media for Xbox 2

The Register reports us that the Microsoft corporation is looking for an engineer for the development of the “Xbox Game Disc for the next generation Xbox console“. According to the Register, this could mean that Microsoft may be looking for a proprietary disc format for its next console, in an effort to make piracy on the device more difficult.

Currently, the Xbox console can quite easily be modded to allow the device to play back-up games. And, since the Xbox is basically a computer, its hard disk can be replaced with a larger one which makes it possible for people to simply play games straight from the Xbox console. This of course doesn’t make Microsoft happy:

Although it’s possible that the role will simply involve devising a copy protection mechanism for games on existing DVD media, similar to that used by the current generation Xbox and the PlayStation 2, the description of the role hints strongly at the company developing a more proprietary format.

Microsoft may be planning to follow in the footsteps of Nintendo, whose mini-DVD format which has been highly successful in preventing piracy on the GameCube. It’s widely expected, however, that whatever media the next Xbox console (codenamed ‘Xenon’, apparently) uses will be the same size as DVD media, since the system will be expected to play back DVD movies and provide backwards compatibility with Xbox games.

Although preventing piracy which results from the copying of game discs is obviously an important consideration, Microsoft will also be thinking very hard about how to prevent piracy which uses the hard drive on the system. Many mod chips for the current generation of Xbox allow users to copy games to their hard drives and then play them without the original game disc, or simply download copies off the Internet directly onto their console – a new avenue for piracy which has potential to be hugely damaging if it becomes popular.

Thanks GristyMcFisty for spotting this news!

Source: The Register