Microsoft Again Denies Xbox 360 Blu-ray, Claims Digital Downloads Are 'The Future'

Citing digital movie downloads as the future of Xbox 360 media playback, Microsoft today ruled out the possibility of a Blu-ray add-on player for the system.

Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Europe VP Chris Lewis was the latest voice from the company to refute rumors of a Blu-ray add-on player. "We have no plans to do anything at all in terms of further or additional movie playback peripherals," Lewis told MCV.

Lewis also stated his belief that consumer choice is turning towards digital media distribution. "My own view is very clear and I know it's shared by other people in Microsoft is that the future's digital downloads now. The broadband proliferation is amazing—people's appetite to download movies through Video Marketplace is testament to that."

"Online is the future. And we're very well placed to take advantage of that," Lewis added.

The VP's comments add further weight to a statement made by Xbox product manager Aaron Greenburg Wednesday in which he dismissed reports that Microsoft and Sony were in talks concerning Blu-ray movie functionality on the Xbox 360.

Following hardware manufacturer Toshiba's announcement that it would cease production of HD DVD players and recorders of the format, Microsoft axed its Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on peripheral, with comments from the company prompting many to speculate that a Blu-ray player add-on was in the works.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 14, 2008 11:32 AM

    He's right about one thing: digital media is the future. However, Blu-Ray is now.

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      March 14, 2008 11:36 AM

      Maybe I'm just not like those folks that buy hundreds of DVDs, but I prefer not to have unnecessary clutter in my physical space, and keep digital information on hard drives instead of my shelves.

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        March 14, 2008 6:37 PM

        ditto. i can't freaking stand having dvds, cd's cluttering my shelves. the majority though is still in love with something they can put on display in their living room like a little trophy.

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          March 14, 2008 10:55 PM

          As limited in the publishers minds as they'd like to think, when you own a dvd etc you actually own that copy and unless your house burns down guess what you'll have it for a while also. Come back to me after a full hd crash or some corruption or your backups are hosed/scratched and tell me how that digital download worked out for you.

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            March 15, 2008 12:44 AM

            Backups to Amazon S3 or even, say an external HDD stored in an offsite location are so reliable as to be near perfectly safe. Blu Ray is completely unproven as to its longevity and going by DVD/CDs' track records which can degrade in ten years or so, it doesn't bode well especially considering the higher densities and likely lower tolerance for error that BD discs have.

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      March 14, 2008 11:42 AM

      Correction. DVD is NOW. DVD smokes blu-ray on every release, and has far greater variety and price. Microsoft's assertion is Blu-Ray may have won the HD-Disc war, but that as a format it won't reach full potential thanks to the still dominant DVD and the ease of digital distribution. They may end up wrong, but they have a decent chance at being right. Right now I can watch any number of movies in HD, had I an HD TV, on my cable at the press of a button, and conversely, through the xbox if i so chose.

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        March 14, 2008 8:58 PM

        Yeah, DVD is still dominant now, but Blu-ray is a pretty new format... VHS sales were probably dominant the first couple years DVD's were out, audio cassette tapes the first few years CD's were out, etc. For blu-ray to really shine, more people need HDTV's, and then people with HDTV's need something to play blu-rays on. Right now, a lot of people have neither.

        I think digital distribution is a great idea for software, but not really for movies. I assume a full-sized HD movie is over 10gigs, which would take a pretty long time to download even on broadband. I doubt most people would want to wait a day to download a movie before watching it. But I guess you can watch while downloading... But I still like to have movies on physical media, so I could possibly bring it to a friend's house without having to bring the whole console.

        On top of that, most people really aren't as technologically savvy as us shackers. I'm sure lots of people, even if they have an HDTV, broadband internet, and a PS3/Xbox, don't realize the full potential of their consoles and what they can do, including downloading movies/demos/whatever. The thought of purchasing a physical "disc" seems like it would be more practical and less intimidating to most people than downloading an intangible piece of data onto a hard drive. To us, the latter sounds easier, but I would assume that for most people, the former would be much easier.

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      March 15, 2008 4:43 AM

      Apple TV / iTunes.

      What's wrong with their HD rentals (on demand)?

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