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Microsoft's HD DVD efforts on the XBOX 360 will be limited to an external USB drive

Despite rumors late last week that a future version of the XBOX 360 would include an internal HD DVD, Microsoft has shot down such speculation. The rumors ran rampant after a Toshiba Australia general manager expressed his thoughts that Microsoft would go ahead with plans to launch the internal drive before the year is out. “I would imagine that there are plans in place to put an HD DVD drive internally in future revisions of the product. They’re not speaking about it publicly at the moment but I would expect them to do that and fairly soon,” said Toshiba's Mark Whittard.

Microsoft, however, was quick to shoot down those comments. Microsoft sees the XBOX 360 as a gaming device first, and HD DVD support can be added if a user chooses to do so via an external drive. Also, with all of the confusion surrounding the Blu-ray/HD DVD format wars, Microsoft is playing it safe by limiting the HD DVD drive to just an external add-on for those that are willing to delve into high definition content.  "Since launching XBOX we have retained a games first emphasis, but we also offer consumers the ability to build on our powerful platform, such as in combination with a Windows Media Center Edition PC. We feel that offering the drive externally is the best way to give consumers the ultimate choice to create their own high definition experiences. We have no plans to release the Xbox 360 with an internal HD DVD drive," said a Microsoft representative to GameDaily BIZ.

At least Microsoft is being consistent. The Redmond-based company has been blasting Sony for including a Blu-ray drive as standard equipment on its PlayStation 3 saying that it is forcing consumers to pay hundreds of dollars extra for a feature that they may not end up even using; not to mention that there is no clear cut winner yet for a next generation high-definition DVD standard.





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