Ballmer Discusses Natal, Blu-ray on Xbox 360 - Hyrb Clarifies

By Jeff Mattas, Oct 22, 2009 5:04pm PDT Enthusiastic Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently sat down for an interview with Gizmodo to discuss future plans for the Xbox 360, and revealed some interesting information about both Natal and Blu-ray functionality.

Ballmer commented about the future roadmap for Natal, following the positive reception given the tech demos earlier this year. Once Natal is released to the public, he states that the plan is to "take [Natal] to the next level; be it on Xbox, or other scenarios." When asked if Natal could meaningfully extend the lifespan of the Xbox 360, effectively challenging the traditional concept of "generational" console-releases, Ballmer coyly replied, "We'll see."

In light of Microsoft's efforts to compete with Sony to provide the premier entertainment experience, Ballmer was asked about the possibility of adding Blu-ray to Microsoft's console. He responded, "I don't know that we need to put Blu-ray in there. You'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories."

Though his use of the word "accessories" seems to imply that an external Blu-ray player add-on for the Xbox 360 is more than just a possibility, it doesn't exactly commit to their production either. When pressed for some clarification about Ballmer's statement, Microsoft spokespeople had the following to say: "Our immediate solution for Blu-ray-quality video on an Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment."

Following the understandable buzz generated by Ballmer's statements, Joystiq caught up with Larry Hyrb (Xbox Live's Major Nelson) for some further clarification. Hyrb insists that Microsoft has "no plans" to add Blu-ray capabilities to the Xbox 360, and said that Ballmer was actually referring to Blu-ray drives for PCs.

In short, don't expect to be playing Blu-ray media on your Xbox 360 anytime soon.

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  • I don't care about blu-ray yet. I'm happy to watch dvds for the moment and the quality of my games on the 360 doesn't seem hindered either. I'm not sure if I would be interested in getting a blu-ray external drive for my 360 if it only let you play blu-ray movies. If it meant that some games would come out in blu-ray for it, exclusively or enchanced, then I might consider it. My feeling is that the 360 has about 2 to 3 more years of life before the next one comes out and then we might see built in blu-ray OR perhaps some new format that either bests blu-ray or at least is compatible with it.