Rumor: Xbox 360 Blu-ray Add-on by May?

By Chris Faylor, Feb 18, 2008 10:56am PST Update: A representative of Microsoft 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."

The representative added, "It continues to be games that drive purchase and that has consistently been a strong point for the Xbox 360 platform."

Original story: The ever-speculated Xbox 360 Blu-ray movie player add-on could arrive by May, according to rumors reported by Smarthouse. The site, which cites insiders at Microsoft, claims that the device's availability depends on "internal marketing and sales approvals," but that it may retail within three months.

Microsoft has long stated that it would consider an Xbox 360 Blu-ray add-on if consumers chose Blu-ray over HD DVD. "It should be consumer choice; and if [Blu-ray is] the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider," Xbox group marketing manager Albert Penello said earlier this year.

Microsoft just lowered the price of the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on, a move many saw as a last-ditch effort, and rumors are now circulating that primary HD DVD backer Toshiba may axe the format as soon as this week.

The site further reports that Microsoft is working on a Xbox 360 model with Blu-ray compatibility built-in, a claim that sounds eerily similar to Smarthouse's previous rumor of an HD DVD-equipped Xbox 360. The site also indicates that the company will continue focusing on downloadable and streaming high-definition movies, a claim director Michael Bay will no doubt take as proof of his claims that Microsoft is intentionally sabotaging both Blu-ray and HD DVD.

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