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MS says 'no' to Xbox 360 HD DVD plan

Well, for now...

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Microsoft has said it has "no plans" to add HD DVD optical disc technology to its Xbox 360 console.

"Microsoft, in both America and Japan, has not announced anything regarding the possibility of a next-generation DVD drive being placed in the Xbox 360," a company spokesman told gaming-oriented website IGN.

"There are currently no plans to release an Xbox 360 equipped with a next generation DVD player."

The comment followed a report by the Japanese news agency Jiji that Microsoft would ship an HD DVD-equipped 360 some time in 2006.

It's a prospect that has been raised before, not least by two senior Microsoft staffers. Step forward Bill Gates and Yoshihiro Maruyama, the latter head of Xbox operations in Jaapan. In August, Gates said the company was "looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capacity of an HD-DVD player or something else". Last month, Maruyama said such a move was a "possibility", though probably for movie playback rather than game storage.

The three Microsoft statements aren't incompatible. Gates and Maruyama talk about options; the spokesman simply indicated no firm decision has been taken, and no formal announcement made. He didn't say the company wasn't considering such a move. Which of course, given Microsoft's support for HD DVD and arch-rival Sony's decision to build Blu-ray into the PlayStation 3, it may well be... ®

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