Rockstar Games is warning consumers who buy the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto V (officially releasing at retail tomorrow for Xbox 360 and PS3 tomorrow) not to install the second disc marked "Play Disc." Apparently installing this disc to your hard drive will cause significant issues with how the game performs. The game comes on two discs: an "Install disc" and a "Play disc." The Install Disc is meant to be installed to your hard drive and takes up around 7.7 GB. The second disc can also be installed and will take up an additional 7.8 GB of HD space.
But apparently installing that second disc causes problems with the game's ability to stream texture data, which results in regular pop-in of in-game objects and textures. Inserting the disc and using it during play is apparently the way you are supposed to play the game. Below is a more detailed account of the problem from Eurogamer sister publication Digital Foundry:
"So what's the story here? Well, optimal streaming is achieved by making us of all the available bandwidth in the system. Why stream just from the hard drive when you can run in data simultaneously from both the disc and the HDD? Based on what we're seeing on the Xbox 360 version, perhaps running both DVD and HDD assets from just the one source slows down access times, impacting streaming performance. It's not game-breaking stuff, but it does take you out of the moment when it does manifest and for that reason we can't recommend installing the play disc."
Digital Foundry goes on to say that a digital download of the game is not available on Xbox 360 but is available on PlayStation Network. While the site isn't sure yet, it could be that this problem plagues PSN users who put the entire game on their hard drives. We'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned.