Despite a slip-up by Microsoft big cheese Steve Ballmer that had the Internet clamoring that the Xbox 360 would be getting Blu-Ray “accessories,” Major Nelson has flatly denied that this is the case.
Yesterday, in a video interview with Gizmodo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discussed his expectations for Natal and the blurring of the lines between console generations, and then dropped an apparent bombshell: The Xbox 360 would apparently be getting Blu-Ray support. When asked if the console would ever be getting an internal Blu-Ray player, the Microsoft boss responded, “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.”
For those of you who missed the opening rounds of this generation of the console wars, the first battle between Xbox 360 and PS3 was actually a proxy battle for the real war: Toshiba’s HD-DVD vs. Sony’s Blu-Ray. That was a war that Sony ended up winning, leaving Microsoft’s Xbox 360 at a disadvantage when it came to next-generation 1080p media. Still, even if it might not have been too surprising to hear that Microsoft had caved to its rival in the interest of supporting physical HD, if Ballmer’s remarks were to be taken as truth then things would have taken an interesting turn in the console wars.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case – and it isn’t the first time Ballmer has misspoken about the future of the Xbox 360, either. Initially, a Microsoft spokesperson refused to comment, saying that “[o]ur immediate solution for Blu-ray-quality video on an Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming.”
When that wasn’t enough to stem the tide of rumors online, Microsoft’s Major Nelson stepped in after the gossip had reached fever pitch in order to quell the hubbub, clarifying that Ballmer had been referring to Blu-Ray drives for the PC: “We have no plans to introduce a Blu-Ray drive for the Xbox 360.”
Phew, glad we got that cleared up. False alarm, people.