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Someday, these two may become one
Toshiba and Microsoft cooking up new HD DVD-enabled Xbox

For better or worse, some consumers are purchasing a PlayStation 3 not for its gaming abilities, but rather its Blu-ray Disc movie playback functionality. While Sony’s gaming division may prefer that its customers be gamers, the bottom line is that those interested in just Blu-ray Disc movies will give Sony another notch in the sales and installed base column – a phenomenon not unlike with DVD during the launch of the PlayStation 2.

With high-definition format crown still up for grabs, both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps are doing whatever they can to gain the advantage. Microsoft and Toshiba, the two main pillars of HD DVD, are reportedly working on a new entertainment set-top box that will integrate the gaming functions of the Xbox 360 and the movie playback functions of a Toshiba HD DVD player, according to Smarthouse.

The new device is supposedly being developed in response to Sony’s myriad of entertainment features on the PlayStation 3, driving the sales of Blu-ray Disc software.

Oddly enough, a recent study says that most gamers are clueless about the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 high-definition features, bringing into question the argument of consoles driving high-definition media sales.

“An Xbox with a built in HD DVD drive is critical,” a senior Toshiba executive in Singapore told the website. “They and we are working onit. It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognises this.”

As a full-featured entertainment hub, such a product would appeal to a broader market than just those in Microsoft’s current Xbox target audience. In fact, a Toshiba machine with similarly wide capabilities may hit the market. “A version of the device may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name,”added the Toshiba executive.

While current Xbox 360 owners may add HD DVD playback capabilities to their consoles with a $179 add-on drive, overall penetration of high-definition movies into Xbox gamers has been less than stellar. With an estimated 155,000 units HD DVD add-on drives sold in the U.S. through mid-year, Microsoft and Toshiba maybe looking into ways of getting the high-definition gaming crowd into movies.The answer may be in Sony’s strategy.

Sony has once dabbled before in releasing a consumer-centric entertainment machine based on its games console. Released only in Japan, the PSX was a set-top box with PVR and PS2 capabilities built-in. The PSX was reserved for the higher-end home entertainment purposes, but never quite found its market.

Xbox 360 gamers afraid that a new machine would make their current systems obsolete have little to worry about, however, as Microsoft has said on multiple occasions that its Xbox 360 games will never require an HD DVD drive.



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RE: Good all the way around
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2007 8:54:24 AM , Rating: 2
360 games won't be on HD-DVD. They wouldn't require gamers to go out and buy a different optical drive to play the games. Require gamers to have a hard drive? Perhaps. But not a completely different optical drive.

Games don't need to be 25-50GB anyway. The best games on PC still are under the 9GB installed range. High resolution textures don't make good games. Most are typically 6-8GB still. I think Crysis is supposed to be something like 12GB right? If so that'll be the biggest single player game to date.

Now in the next generation of consoles, I'm sure the next Xbox will have an HD-DVD or Bluray drive, depending on who wins the format war.


RE: Good all the way around
By Gul Westfale on 10/22/2007 10:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
finally they are going to do what they should have done with the elite systems from the very beginning.


RE: Good all the way around
By SigmaHyperion on 10/22/2007 11:04:40 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, FITCamaro, there are a number of PC games that are multiple-DVDs and/or require install sizes of greater than 10GB.

Stranglehold is, IIRC, 16GB installed. Most of the Medieval: Total War games are 10-12GB installed. I'm sure there's more that I can't think off the top of my head. I know I've installed numerous multiple-DVD games in the past.

And of course the granddaddy of them all -- Flight Simulator X which requires some 16GB just to do a normall install. If you install add-on scenery packs (as many do) those can range in excess of 5GB just for the textures of a single metropolitan area.

Rumor has it that when Lost Odyssey hits the X360 it will require as many as 4 DVDs. But, yes, overall I agree that game sizes are largely unconstrained by disc space. Nor is that additional space somehow required to make a game a good one.


RE: Good all the way around
By GaryJohnson on 10/22/2007 11:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They wouldn't require gamers to go out and buy a different optical drive to play the games.


I agree that is an incredibly stupid idea but it has happened in the past. Didn't the Sega Genesis have something like 4 different formats that each required a different add-on?

A shortage of usability experts has created an abundance of useless products.


RE: Good all the way around
By darkpaw on 10/22/2007 11:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
Sega CD and Sega 32x, both miserable failrues.

Add-ons don't really work for gamers, especially if they are required.


RE: Good all the way around
By MrPickins on 10/22/2007 12:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I agree that is an incredibly stupid idea but it has happened in the past. Didn't the Sega Genesis have something like 4 different formats that each required a different add-on?


Which is exactly why it won't happen again.
Large companies stay profitable by learning from the past.


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation














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