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Rockstar spreads L.A. Noire across three discs

Upcoming third-person gumshoe investigate-'em-up L.A. Noire is going to be a big game - so big, in fact, that developer Rockstar is having trouble getting it on to the Xbox 360.

The 1940s-era detective game, which comes from the development house most famous for the Grand Theft Auto series, is to launch on both Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 - but while PlayStation gamers will have but a single disc, the Xbox users will have to juggle three separate DVDs, the development studio has told gaming news site Kotaku.

It's a move which will leave Xbox players swapping between discs - even though the latest major update to the console's operating system introduced an 'install to hard drive' option, which still requires the physical disc to be present in the drive in order to verify ownership of the title.

Rockstar's latest epic is so large, the company claims, that it takes three DVDs to fit all the content - but just barely squeezes onto a 25GB single-layer Blu-ray disc for the PlayStation 3 version.

It's something which validates Sony's decision to delay the launch of the PS3 in order to fit a Blu-ray drive instead of the DVD drive used in Microsoft's Xbox 360 - a move that left Sony playing catch-up in the next-generation console market with a machine that cost significantly more to make than its nearest competitor.

It appears that the gamble has paid off, however - and not just for games. While Rockstar's last major release, Grand Theft Auto IV, was small enough to fit on a DVD - and suffered from extended loading times on the PS3, thanks to the slower transfer rate of the Blu-ray drive compared to the Xbox's DVD - it looks like this time around PlayStation gamers will be the ones getting the better deal.

As games become more complex, the size of data required for them grows - and large media like Blu-ray discs becomes a necessity. While Microsoft managed to dodge the bullet when it launched the Xbox 360, there's no getting around the fact that its next-generation console - whenever that might appear - will have to take a leaf out of rival Sony's book and bring some major capacity improvements if the company wants to keep developers - and gamers - on-side.