The PlayStation 3 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will allow users to install a texture pack to the console's hard drive — not necessarily to improve performance, but to reduce wear and tear on the system's Blu-ray drive.
Game design director David Vonderhaar took to the game's forums to explain the optional installation, saying, "When we explained to PS3 folks that installing to the HDD wouldn't neccessarily give us any significant performance gains, they explained back that the issue is they play so much it puts constant stress on the Blu-ray drive and wears them out."
According to Vonderhaar, installing the texture pack requires a "non-trivial" amount of hard drive space, although he did not provide a specific size for the installation because Black Ops 2 is still in development and the numbers may change.
For comparison's sake, the optional high-resolution texture pack installation on the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3 took up 1.5GB of space. But Black Ops 2 will use the same textures regardless of whether PS3 users decide to install them — Vonderhaar said the game can still pre-cache textures. He made no mention of a similar option for Xbox 360 players.
We have reached out to Treyarch for more details, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update: A Treyarch representative sent over some clarifications from Vonderhaar. The PS3 version of Black Ops 2 has no mandatory hard drive installation; only the textures can be installed to the disk in order to reduce the strain on the console's Blu-ray drive. "To be clear," said Vonderhaar, "this is not a texture pack." In other words, Black Ops 2 is completely different from Battlefield 3 in that the game will look the "exactly the same" whether or not PS3 players install the textures.
Xbox 360 players have the usual system-level option to install the entire disc to their console's hard drive, which cuts down on the amount of spinning that the optical drive does.