updated 12:45 pm EST, Tue January 8, 2008
MS: No HD DVD Xbox
Microsoft has no plans whatsoever to produce an Xbox 360 with HD DVD drive built in, according to IDG News. Rumors to the contrary have circulated for some time, but Jeff Bell, Microsoft's VP of global marketing for interactive entertainment, says there is "absolutely" no HD DVD-equipped Xbox in the works. Microsoft has to date backed HD DVD over Blu-Ray, mainly through its optional add-on drive; Bell now says that the company is taking a neutral position, letting users pick which disc format they like through separate players. Microsoft also supplies on-demand HD through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Part of the reason for Blu-Ray's current dominance has been attributed to Sony's PlayStation 3, which has a built-in Blu-Ray drive, letting it double as an HD movie player and a game console. During 2006 and much of 2007 the PS3 was one of the cheapest HD players available, giving the Blu-Ray format a unique advantage. It has been rumored that Microsoft backed HD DVD solely to undermine the PS3, which would otherwise be the only console with an HD reader of any type. Nintendo's Wii console is incapable of playing even standard DVDs.