Microsoft’s Xbox One may currently be trailing Sony’s PlayStation 4 in worldwide sales at the moment, but the company is taking big steps in an attempt to close the gap, starting with the release of strong exclusive titles over the next 12 months. While more exclusives are undoubtedly an exciting prospect, it is Microsoft’s new Xbox One system update that could swing things in its favor due its reported ability to save hard drive space and cut download times.

Known internally as “Intelligent Delivery”, this is Microsoft’s new system of mastering Xbox One and Xbox One X games in a way that splits game content into tagged “chunks.” This, in turn, allows gamers to download only the game “chunks” that they need or want to play, rather than downloading the entire game package, and thus saving hard drive space. Not only does this mean that file sizes will be considerably smaller than the 100GB-plus game file sizes expected for most titles these days, but also the download time will be shortened as a result.

For example, using the new “Intelligent Delivery” system, Xbox One owners will now have the option of not downloading 4K assets meant for the Xbox One X, thus saving a considerable amount of hard drive space. The ability of choosing what video game assets to download extends beyond Xbox One X-specific content, such as players now having the choice of downloading audio assets in only the languages they want, as opposed to the whole multi-language support package.

At the time of writing, no date has been set for when “Intelligent Delivery” will be rolled out for Xbox owners, but with the Xbox One X scheduled for a November launch, there’s a possibility that this new system will be released at the same time as Microsoft’s new console.

The “Intelligent Delivery” system will also apply to gameplay-specific content; players can now delete any game modes they’re not using, such as multiplayer and level editors, thus saving even more hard-drive space. Having said all that, Microsoft is recommending that this new technology be implemented for upcoming games, though the company has stated that “Intelligent Delivery” can be retrofitted for older titles if needed.

Microsoft’s new Xbox One and Xbox One X technology is flexible enough to even support multi-disc releases, with all the essential game content being put on disc one and any additional or optional content on subsequent discs. The system allows for up to 15 discs of content, though Microsoft is currently only offering the option for two disc mastering. Of course, it remains to be seen whether developers will adopt “Intelligent Delivery” as there’s been no indication from Microsoft that it will be mandatory.

Microsoft’s “Intelligent Delivery” system is certainly shaping up to be an innovative way to deliver game content to players, especially in a landscape where very large game files and long-waiting download times are the norm. With some analysts predicting that the Xbox One X will outsell the PlayStation 4 Pro, this upcoming new Xbox One and Xbox One X update definitely lends some credence to that prediction.

Source: Digital Foundry