Microsoft drops HD DVD Xbox add-on


Less than a week after Toshiba officially pulled the plug on its HD DVD next-generation optical disc format, Microsoft Feb. 24 announced it will no longer manufacturer add-ons to its Xbox 360 game console that allow users to view HD DVD movies.

John Porcaro, a senior group manager in Microsoft's Global Games Marketing Team, notes on the company's Gamerscore blog that "as a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD players in the market."

Toshiba last week announced that fewer than 1 million HD DVD players had been sold, about 300,000 of them HD DVD add-ons for the Xbox 360.

No word on whether Microsoft plans on offering a Blu-ray add-on, or whether the company will incorporate a Blu-ray drive into future Xbox 360 models, as Blu-ray developer Sony has done with its PlayStation 3 console.

Observers speculate Microsoft will do neither, focusing on delivering movies electronically through Xbox LIVE.

According to the statement Porcaro posted on his blog, "As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own."