With the biggest HD DVD supporter, Toshiba, pulling support for the troubled high-definition format and essentially ending the format war, speculation about Microsoft starting to sell a Blu-ray add-on drive for Xbox 360 is rife.
SmartHouse claims to have spoken to Microsoft insiders, who told the site that the company has already configured a standalone Blu-ray player
that can be connected to an Xbox 360 and this reportedly could be on sale within three months.
The site also says that Microsoft is working on a built-in Blu-ray player too, but the console maker sees the HD format battle moving online. While the former seems relatively plausible, I can't see the latter happening because Microsoft was reluctant to introduce a built-in HD DVD drive, even despite being a big supporter of the format.
In response to the speculation, a Microsoft representative told Shacknews
that, "It is premature to speculate about Blu-ray but we do know from market data that HD movie playback is not a primary purchase driver for consumers buying video game consoles.
This reads in a similar way to the company's statement yesterday evening
, which said that "We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.
Michael Ephraim, the boss of Sony Computer Entertainment Austrailia, said that "We would welcome Microsoft to the Blu-ray stable. In fact it is quite logical for them as the PS3 has been very succesful in driving consumers to Blu-ray. In fact we believe that it has done more to win the format war than traditional Blu-ray player.
So, there are two opposing statements from the two big console makers. But, the thing is, there weren't any really big console-selling games on PS3 in its early days, so the only reason to
buy the console early on was for the Blu-ray player and the promise of some great content later down the line. Of course, there are now a growing number of great games on PS3, so I believe the Blu-ray player a less important feature than it was before.
Do you think Microsoft will
ship a Blu-ray add-on drive? Share your thoughts in the forums