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MS: Blu-ray on Xbox 360 'possible'

If you can add one external drive (HD DVD), you can add another (BD)

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Microsoft has said it may ship a Blu-ray Disc drive for its Xbox 360 games console should consumers prefer that next-generation optical disc format over HD DVD.

Speaking to Japanese-language website ITmedia, Microsoft's Peter Moore, head of the company's Interactive Entertainment Division, also said that the console will never sport an integrated HD DVD drive.

There's no surprise that Microsoft might entertain the possibility of shipping a BD drive for the 360. After all, if it can hook up an external HD DVD drive to one the console's USB ports - as it announced last week at the Consumer Electronics Show that it will - it can likewise connect an external Blu-ray Drive.

Microsoft clearly - and very understandably - doesn't want to risk lumbering Xbox 360 with an internal drive format consumers don't want, and while it's favouring HD DVD by announcing an external drive that can read that disc format, it wants to ensure it's free to support the BD if it has to.

As Moore himself points out, Sony is taking that risk. If BD fails in the market, Sony is going to look weak. But of course, Sony is hoping BD will not fail precisely because the format is so tightly a part of PlayStation 3.

Indeed, the PS3 is arguably BD's strongest advantage over HD DVD. Both have benefits to offer that their rival format doesn't, but beyond factors like storage capacity (BD), cheaper manufacturing costs (HD DVD), it's likely to be BD's presence in the PS3 that pushes it ahead.

If so, Microsoft will want to ensure that BD support isn't one of the advantages Sony can say its console offers over its rival's product, and so an external BD drive will be forthcoming.

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