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

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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