Ballmer Confirms Blu-Ray for Xbox 360

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed something that was once literally an offhand joke but seems a solid move now; we’ll see an Xbox 360 Blu-Ray drive, likely as an external rather than an internal device.

Xbox 360 Elite

According to an interview over at Gizmodo, when Ballmer was quizzed about the likelihood of Microsoft putting a high-definition media drive into future models of the Xbox 360 itself, his response was to say that, “Well I don’t know if we need to put Blu-Ray in there – you’ll be able to get Blu-Ray drives as accessories.”

Some years ago, during the height of the format war to see whether Toshiba’s HD-DVD or Sony’s Blu-Ray would be the next generation disc media of choice, Peter Moore (current head of EA Sports, then an important member of Microsoft’s Xbox division) summed up Microsoft’s position by saying that it was backing HD-DVD, but that if Blu-Ray ended up winning there was no reason we couldn’t see a Blu-Ray add-on for the Xbox 360 afterward.

Naturally all of that was taken as fairly light-hearted banter at the time, but it seems as though Ballmer’s comments have made a truth of Moore’s earlier boast of media-agnosticism on the Xbox.

Of course, for Xbox owners, the biggest issue with a Blu-Ray player will be that it’ll be strictly for use with Blu-Ray movies, as opposed to us eventually seeing games released on the high-capacity discs. Microsoft’s dedication to not splitting the userbase by ensuring that there are as few games as possible that need anything more than the base hardware to run means that high-capacity disks are unlikely ever to see use for games, regardless of the potential benefits.

If you’d like to watch the full interview with Steve Ballmer, you can check it out over at Gizmodo. Watch out though, he seems to love the word “scenario.”

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