Ballmer: You’ll Be Able To Get Blu-ray Drives As Accessories

Ballmer: You’ll Be Able To Get Blu-ray Drives As Accessories

In the format wars, Microsoft supported HD DVD in the battle against Sony’s Blu-ray. The company even released an HD DVD player for the Xbox 360. But, HD DVD lost. Blu-ray won.

In an exclusive interview with sister site Gizmodo, Ballmer addressed the question of adding Blu-ray to the Xbox 360, saying, “Well I don’t know if we need to put Blu-ray in there-you’ll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories.

I think mostly the future of movies is on-demand, actually, as opposed to distribution via physical media,” Ballmer continued. “So we’re just gonna keep driving forward and try to make it the best entertainment — overall entertainment, not just gaming, but overall entertainment experience we can.”

In the post format war, Microsoft has continued to push digital distribution, which seems contradictory to the idea that Microsoft would pursue a Blu-ray add-on accessory.

When Xbox spokespeople were asked about Ballmer’s comment, they told Gizmodo, “Our solution for HD 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.”

Ballmer Talks Natal, Says Blu-ray Add-On for Xbox Coming [Gizmodo]


  • Did he just say MS wont build a Xbox with a Blu-Ray drive, but a Blu-Ray player will be available as an accessory? Like the HD player was?

    • I think he is saying they are getting cheap now and theres no need to as alot of people (by now) have players.. or there being thrown in with TV’s etc as bonus accessories…

      We all know they will never release an accessory for BD playback on the 360

      • That doesn’t really explain why PS3s are now walking out the door. People were waiting for a reasonably priced all-round package and SONY have finally delivered.
        It’s gonna be hard for MS to swallow paying licence fees to SONY for each BR player they wont to put into an XBOX.

        • They wouldn’t have to pay Sony licensing fees. At least, not directly and probably not significantly. Contrary to popular belief Sony did not singlehandedly invent blu-ray, and any licensing fees would be paid to the Blu-Ray Disc Association which consists of nine companies. Sony is just one of those. If Toshiba can swallow their pride and release a BD player (and they are) then I’m sure Microsoft can do it as well.

          That said, I don’t see why they would – it’s unlikely that they could price the add-on at a point that would make it more attractive than a standalone player, and without that I can’t see it selling very well. There’s just no need (nor market, I’d wager) for the 360 to play blu-rays. The next Xbox, definitely, but it seems a little late for the 360 to go down that road.

  • Yeah, digital distribution is the future, not discs… I’ve been saying this for a long time, but it never really mattered whether HD-DVD or Bluray won, it’s going to be the last real generation for optical media anyway. I only wish Australia didn’t have such archaic internet… there’s going to be a point in the next ten years when some people here are not going to have access to things like games and movies… my connection is 1.5mbps with a 40gb monthly limit. That would be trying to drive a car with no wheels.

    • Digital distribution may well be the future, but it’s a distant enough future that it does matter who won out of HD-DVD and BluRay because there’s still a long time to go until broadband access becomes fast enough and cheap enough (and uncapped enough) for EVERYBODY to be able to use it to obtain their media.

      And once it becomes possible, that doesn’t mean that it’ll instantly kill physical media. Digital downloads haven’t killed physical distribution of music – you can still buy your music on CD. It’s certainly taken a good sized bite out of that market, but that market is still there and will still be there for a long time.

    • i dont think digital distribution has got the edge over phyiscal media yet and for my view not for a along time.

      most of the time physical media is the same price as digital distribution + the cost of your internet quota and with physical media you get a box inlays and you can resell it after. all big plus points for me.

      dont get me wrong i like digital distribution its handy for me living 8 hours from my nearest game store and it means i get get it the same time as everybody else but the ability to lend and resell are gonna be what holds digital distribution back.

    • im on 24mb ADSL 2 with 150 gig of downloads a month. and i live in outback Australia. Australians who bitch about their Internet just need to look harder

  • im still annoyed that australia doesnt get included in the update,why am i paying same amount for gold as US xbox live subscribers yet only have half the features????? shakes fists at clouds

  • Justin Hobbs, you better hope that this generation is the last that will use optical or other hardcopy media.

    If thats the case we aussies will be left in the dust with out crappy internet speeds and subpar download plans. Better get used to no more AAA+ titles come next gen.

  • Even with 1080 streaming, are we forgetting about sound? I can’t imagine the last time I watched a movie that wasn’t on free to air tv without the 5.1 speakers.

  • But out of the majorty – who really cares about 1080 and FULL HD picture when they watch movies etc..

    Blu-Ray is still the more expensive route in players and buying movies. It will eventually come down once it becomes even more popular – its the same for any new product.

    But not everyone is tech-savvy and those who are, some don’t really care about FULL HD. We’ve dealt with normal analog television for the past HOW MANY years…

    It is nice to see something in good quality. But whats so wrong with standard DVDs that affects your time watching a movie whether it be ONCE or numerous times if you purchase the product?

  • Australia has one of the largest proportional uptakes of HDTV units. We are also badly disadvantaged when it comes to internet speeds and allowance. This lends itself very well to HD free-to-air payTV subs and BluRay sales/rentals, but not so much to HD downloads.

    MS and SCE will need to be getting the major ISPs on board to rectify this imbalance if they are to expect any success in their movie download services. Unlike the telcos who are still killing iPhone users with rubbish data plans on an unreliable WiFi device.

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