by Anton Shilov
01/11/2009 | 03:36 PM
The current situation of the economy around the globe requests makers of popular devices to build-in more functionality into their products to stay competitive, however, this does not seem to be true for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Blu-ray format.
Even though our market sources indicated Microsoft Corp.’s intention to make available an external Blu-ray disc (BD) drive for Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console, the company itself claims that the platform does not need the support for the format. It is obvious that video game consoles are acquired to play games, but while the PlayStation 3 can play BD movies and Wii can be controlled by motion-sensing controllers, the Xbox 360 can support neither technology.
“It’s not a feature we get a ton of requests for. We really don’t. When you ask people the list of things they want to see us spending time creating in Xbox, Blu-ray is way, way down on the list,” said Robert J. Bach, president entertainment and devices division at Microsoft, in an interview with TechFlash web-site.
Microsoft itself is trying to sell content using its own Xbox Live network.
“From a technical perspective, it doesn’t help us in the core of what Xbox does, which is in gaming. We can’t have publishers produce games on Blu-ray disc. Because then they won’t play on the 28 million Xboxes we’ve already shipped. So it doesn’t help us in the core gaming space,” said Mr. Bach.
Mr. Bach did not say whether HD DVD, a format that was competing against BD, add-on player for Xbox 360 was actually requested by gamers.
“It costs a lot of money. And so the scenario is, OK, let me get this straight: I’m going to add something to the product that’s going to raise the cost, which means the price goes up, consumers aren’t asking for it, and by the way, my game developers can’t use it,” claimed Mr. Bach.
Microsoft urges that it still can bring ultimate quality video over the Internet and there is no need for Blu-ray. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not answer the question whether the HD DVD format was actually needed.
“I have an even better way for you to get high-definition content straight to your TV, between the combination of what we’re doing with Netflix, what we’re doing with (video on demand), we have a great Xbox Live solution. In a way it’s a little bit of a technology looking for an answer. We just have no plans in that space,” added Mr.Bach.
The main reason why Microsoft is unenthusiastic regarding Blu-ray is mandatory support of BD-Java interactive technology and Sony’s reluctance to adopt competing tech called HDi that was developed by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft managed to push its VC-1 codec onto both Blu-ray and HD DVD markets, the company’s negative attitude towards Java prevented it from supporting the former standard in general. As a result, the company used to sell external HD DVD drive for Xbox 360.