Microsoft has been developing a new disc format for use with the Xbox 360 of late. However, before you say "yay, Blu-ray's finally coming to my favourite console a good three years after HD-DVD upped and died", it's not Blu-ray. Sorry.

Instead, it's essentially exactly the same disc format that's been improved by unlocking an extra 1GB of space that was previously reserved for DVD-Video and anti-piracy measures.

Currently, games have to fit into 6.8GB on a 7.95GB disc, with the rest being a locked-off partition. However, beta tests are presently underway in the US, with participants trying out copies of Halo: Reach that take up an additional 1GB of disc space. It's unknown whether there is additional content or if the game has just been decompacted to make up the shortfall.

Either way, if successful, a full roll-out is expected, with a dashboard upgrade to all Xbox 360s globally that will allow them to access the extra information.

The details of the 1GB extension were discovered by Xbox 360 scene hacker, commodore4ever, who tweeted: "MS will introduce xgd3 – this will add more ap checks, cvi (content integerity) checks, increase the disc size and adds a new layer for protection issues – all in the 20500 sdk! bring it on".

There's currently no word on when the change-over might occur.

Is it worth Microsoft bothering? Should it seek to move to Blu-ray? Or would you prefer all of your games to be digitally delivered over broadband? Let us know in the comments below...

Pic by nickwheeleroz, under a CC licence.