Future revisions of the Xbox 360, after its initial launch, could see the console sporting a HD-DVD drive.
The speculation was driven by a speech given by Bill Gates at a joint press event with Toshiba, the primary backer of HD-DVD. According to Gamesindustry.biz
, Gates said that "The initial shipments of Xbox 360 will be based on today's DVD format... We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capability of an HD-DVD player or something else."
There has been some outcry that Microsoft are shipping only a standard DVD player with the 360, when its rival, the sony PlayStation 3, is shipping with rival hi-def standard BluRay.
HD-DVD holds 15GB single-layer, or 30GB dual layer, and is currently approved by the DVD Forum as the high-def successor to DVD. BluRay holds 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer, and is, as we noted, due to appear in the PS3.
Whilst some have commented that the DVD functionality of PS2 saw it fly off the shelves at its release, we'd have to say that Blu-ray movies really aren't going to be available by the time the PS3 hits, and consumer awareness of what the format is is incredibly low - it may be an issue in the future, but the lack of HD on the Xbox, and the Blu-ray support on the PS3, won't be a factor in initial sales.
The statement by Gates is the first confirmation that the 360 may see revisions after launch. We'd have to speculate that these revisions will be made once a the HD-DVD / Blu-Ray format war is over, and once HDTV is more commonplace - the revisions will undoubtedly be designed to make Xbox 360 more integral to the living room.
Think that this move could fracture the 360 installation base? Should MS have included HD-DVD in the first place? Let us know your opinions.