Following several days of rampant speculation regarding the so-called format wars between the HD DVD and Blu-ray disc formats, Microsoft has admitted that the company will consider a Blu-ray add-on if the technology becomes a clear market leader in the future.
Although Microsoft has always backed Toshiba’s HD DVD format, releasing a HD DVD drive add-on for the Xbox 360, the format was dealt a blow at CES when Warner Bros. announced it would move its exclusive support to the Sony backed Blu-ray.
As a result speculation over continued support from other movie companies, particularly Paramount
, increased dramatically. The possibility of a Blu-ray drive for the Xbox 360 was first discussed
by UK Xbox head Neil Thompson in March of last year.
At CES though Xbox group marketing manager Albert Penello, speaking to Reuters
, suggested that the possibility of such an add-on, “Should be consumer choice; and if that's the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider."
However, Penello also emphasized that Microsoft still fully backs the HD DVD format and that it does not believe the Warner Bros. announcement will affect sales of the Xbox 360.
"I fundamentally don't think ... this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3," said Penello. "With the PlayStation 2, DVD was a big part in the beginning, but over time, people were not buying it as a DVD player after first year or two."
"You can't say it's not a bummer, not a setback, but I've seen this battle declared over so many times," added Penello in regards to Warner's decision. "I want consumers to have a voice in this and I think there are a lot of consumers who bought HD DVD who are going to have a say in how this shakes out."
A Microsoft representative has re-emphasized to Gamasutra that though Penello said said the company might possibly consider Blu-ray in the future, the company has no current plans to do so.
“Microsoft currently has no plans at this time to consider Blu-ray as an option," said the representative. "We continue to believe that HD DVD is the best optical solution for consumers, since it’s the only format today that delivers quality experiences at affordable prices.”]