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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console will get HD DVD external drive later this year allowing users to enjoy games that take advantage of increased disc capacities. While the console will also be able to playback HD DVD movies, users may still prefer Sony’s PlayStation 3 that comes with Blu-ray disc reader by default.

The Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive is promised to be available in 2006. Besides, the company indicated that more than 50 new high-definition Xbox 360 games would be available by June 2006. The new drive will offer Xbox 360 owners the ability to easily enjoy HD DVD movies and will provide consumers with even more choices for experiencing high-definition content, in either physical or digital form.

It is unknown how much the external HD DVD drive will cost end-users, but it is likely that the device will not be too expensive. Sony PlayStation 3, the arch-rival for the Xbox 360, will also be equipped with competing Blu-day disc format. It is possible that a combination of the Xbox 360 and external HD DVD drive will be priced at the same point as the PlayStation 3.

Xbox 360 is on track to be the fastest-selling video game console ever, forecast to ship between 4.5 million and 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2006, according to a statement by Microsoft.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine will provide a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. Depending on the bundle, Microsoft Xbox 360 costs $299 or $399.

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