Blu-ray &Hardware Steven Kippel on 12 Jun 2008

Xbox Blu-ray rumor surfaces, denied

Xbox Blu-ray rumor surfaces, denied

Microsoft Xbox 360This is one of those rumors that exists in that little space between asleep and awake. It’s so plausible that no amount of denying it will ever kill it. Maybe you can’t kill rumors, only the people who spread them.

On 8th June the rumor surfaced once again on CrunchGear. The anonymous tipster cited their anonymous source at Microsoft claiming the Redmond, WA company would announce a Blu-ray enabled Xbox one-hour before Steve Jobs took the stage at WWDC. (This actually gives me a great idea; I should post anonymous rumors to drive traffic to this site!)

Obviously this tipster was full of crap, but Microsoft’s Robbie Bach was quick to respond. Shortly after the rumor surfaced the Entertainment & Devices Division President told the San Francisco Chronicle in an interview that it couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you look at the Blu-ray player market, you haven’t seen the acceleration everybody expected (since the demise of HD DVD). It’s not as much about whether all the content is in a Blu-ray format or a HD DVD format. You have to look at how fundamentally compelling the difference is between a progressive scan DVD player and the picture that it can produce and what you get on a high-definition player. The reality is there is some difference, but most people look at it and say, “I am not going to pay extra for that.”

Aside from the usual Microsoft spin that they’re always right and their competition is always wrong, Bach fails to realize that Blu-ray adoption has taken off and is growing quite steadily. But aside from the point, this is a pretty straightforward response without any political two-step around the issue.

With the Playstation 3 now nipping at the heels of the Xbox 360 with Metal Gear Solid 4 just around the corner, most analysts are suggesting the Sony video game console will beat the 360 this generation. The next generation console seems to require a Blu-ray drive. If Microsoft does not join the program this generation it’s mostly probable it will appear in the next console.

As a side note to would-be rumormongers: next time you bring this rumor out please show a little more creativity. This latest one simply took the month-old rumor out of China and changed the source from a Chinese publication to “my friend.” Instead, say there will be a new Media Center Xbox 360 with Blu-ray drive, 7.1 surround system, and looks like the Batmobile from the 1995 Val Kilmer sequel. Now that would be a cool rumor!

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