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This is a great topic! I do remember seeing some of those disks with the multiple versions on the other side...I'm wanting to say I even saw the SG II disk you mentioned, but that could be faulty memory.
I'm sure it's been done with CDs or DVDs as well; even some of my movies have different versions on the other side (WS or FS, for instance). I guess this sort of thing wouldn't work with game consoles, of course, since the developers wouldn't want you to buy a disc with the 360 version on one side and the PS3 or Wii on the other. :)
That's the thing with these 3.5" disks, there is no other side. That's the point, you need a very special writing and mastering technique to make this work on a single side, and it sounds like in the case of Starglider II it certainly didn't work well enough to be worth pursuing.
It IS curious though as you correctly point out why there are not any dual-sided DVDs for consoles. It's probably so sales are maximized. For instance, if you had a PS2 version on one side and a Wii version on the other, you'd be targeting the same basic audience (today). It's much more productive to say sell to the PS2 owner today and then hope that that person upgrades to a Wii and then buys it again. Of course, the main issue is probably one of shelving. Modern videogame shelves are stocked by system - there is no intermixing. In theory PS2 owners wouldn't be looking in the Wii software and vice-versa, so the reality is there is no particular benefit, particularly since manufacturing costs would be increased slightly (perhaps even over including two discs).
Probably the most interesting non-game double side disc was the HD-DVD/DVD combo, with the HD-DVD version of the movie on one side and the regular DVD version on the other side. I have a few titles like that. I believe they're working on trying to figure out how to do that with BluRays. Right now the best they do is when you buy the BluRay version they throw the regular DVD version on a separate disk in with it. Technically there's a third and fourth format on there as well at times, as there's a digital copy for Windows Media protected devices and Apple iTunes devices.
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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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