Sunday, March 9, 2008

Microsoft to Equip Xbox 360 with Blu-Ray Drive - Rumor

According to Financial Times, Sony is talking to its competitor in the gaming consoles market, Microsoft Corporation, about the possibility to equip their Xbox solutions with Blu-Ray drives. As you know, Xbox 360 initially equipped with the regular DVD drive may have an optional HD DVD drive. However, when the format war ended with Toshiba’s decision to no longer support this format, this option is no longer acute.

After Sony’s victory last month in the high-definition optical format war, Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics US president, said the two sides were now talking about Microsoft adopting Blu-ray.

On the one hand, Blu-ray drive in a Xbox 360 would make Microsoft more competitive with the Sony PlayStation 3, that comes initially equipped with a Blu-Ray drive. But on the other it would also mean extra revenues for Sony’s electronics division.

It would also add further cost to the 360, meaning a premium edition of the console could be necessary. A Blu-ray drive could be incorporated in its top-of-the-range Elite Xbox, or Microsoft could again offer a drive as a plug-in peripheral.

However, Microsoft representatives do not admit having started negotiations like that. They claim: ”We have made no such announcement. Games are what are driving consumers to purchase game consoles and we remain focused on providing the largest library of blockbuster games available.”

Mr. Glasgow added that they also talk to Apple. In this case they are talking about their intention to include Blu-ray drives into their entire lineup of Mac desktops and laptop computers.

On Blu-ray pricing, Mr. Glasgow expects prices of players to drop to as low as $299 by the end of the year. At this time there is not a single model in the market priced below $399, but by the end of the year 2009 the drives should drop down in price to $200. The prices are still so high because Blu-ray Association, the group controlling the standard, hasn’t yet licensed this technology to Chinese manufacturers, who could inevitably bring the prices down.

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