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No one needs Blu-ray, says Microsoft exec

Format to be quickly superseded by downloads, streaming

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"Who needs Blu-ray?" asks Stephen McGill, the head of Microsoft UK's Xbox operation. No one, is his implicit answer.

Interviewed recently by website Xbox 360 Achievements, McGill said in response to a question centred on the console's use of DVD storage: "Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming.

"We offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"

Never say never, but that would certainly seem to wrap up the rumours that Microsoft will one day release a Blu-ray enabled Xbox.

Of course, McGill is talking about movie downloads, but it's worth bearing in mind that game data can and will increasingly run to considerably more gigabytes than movies do. The question is, will there come a time when an Xbox game requires more capacity than a dual-layer DVD can provide but there isn't yet the bandwidth to pull down the excess over the net?

As plenty of folk have noted, McGill's attitude appears to mirror that of Apple. The Mac maker has steadfastly refused to offer Blu-ray Disc drives in its computers, preferring to wait (apparently) until there's clear market demand for the technology. So far, it has to be said, there doesn't seem to be, whether it comes to PCs or Macs.

Presumably, both Microsoft and Apple feel that there never will be, as Blu-ray's growth in the market will be capped by a parallel rise in downloads but more particularly streaming. ®

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