Microsoft Mum On Xbox 360 HD DVD Support

Microsoft said it doesn't know whether it will continue to support the HD DVD format on its Xbox 360 video game console, even though the format is all but dead.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

February 19, 2008

2 Min Read

Microsoft said it's too early to say whether it will continue to support the high-definition HD DVD format on its Xbox 360 video game console, despite the fact that the format is all but dead.

"We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player," Microsoft said in a statement Monday.

Microsoft currently sells an HD DVD player as a $129 add-on for the Xbox 360.

Toshiba, which developed HD DVD, on Tuesday confirmed speculation that it would pull the plug on the format. Toshiba said in a statement that it would "no longer develop, manufacture, and market HD DVD players and recorders."

The move follows decisions by virtually all major Hollywood studios to throw their weight behind Sony's rival Blu-ray high-definition format.

The death of HD-DVD puts Microsoft in a quandary. Sony's Playstation 3 console features a built-in Blu-ray player. With HD DVD no longer viable, Microsoft needs to find an alternate high-definition format for its Xbox platform.

The company could itself move to Blu-ray. More likely, however, is that it will reject its rival's technology and focus instead on offering more high-definition downloads through its Xbox Live online content service.

Microsoft already sells a limited selection of HD television program and movie downloads on Xbox Live, which boasts more than 10 million members.

In the meantime, Microsoft says that HD DVD's discontinuation won't hurt Xbox 360 revenue -- insisting games, and not movies, dictate console sales.

"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," the company said. Microsoft shipped 4.3 million Xbox 360 systems in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 4.4 million systems during the same period in 2006 -- a decline of 2.3%.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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