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Blu-ray add-on coming to the Xbox 360?

Rumours flare up, again

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Microsoft has commissioned two of the biggest names in consumer electronics to manufacture a Blu-ray Disc drive for the Xbox 360, market sources have claimed.

A joint venture between Samsung and Toshiba has been tasked with making the add-on drives for the console, an Xbit Labs report maintains. Although the drive’s technical specifications are still unknown, it’s alleged that the Blu-ray player will sell for between $100 and $150 (£51-87/€73-110).

Exactly when - or, indeed, if - the Xbox Blu-ray drive will appear in the shops isn’t known either. But with the Christmas season rapidly approaching, and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) following it in Las Vegas in early January, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the drive could appear sometime between now and early 2009.

Microsoft claimed back in May this year that it had “no plans to introduce a Blu-ray drive for Xbox 360” - despite the failure of its favoured next-gen optical disc format, HD DVD.

However, price cuts alone won’t win it the console war, and the firm needs to close the functionality gap that exists between the Xbox 360 and the Blu-ray lovin’ PlayStation 3.

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