Blu-ray on Xbox 360 Not Going to Happen

Some websites are reporting “rumors” of Microsoft getting
ready to add Blu-ray support to the Xbox 360. 
I’m not going to link to the main website in question, because nothing
on that site has ever been true (unless there is an Xbox 360 with HD DVD intergated out there, it was said to be true by this website on at least three different occasions.  There are several other false stories out of this site too).

Jason
Unger of CE Pro does
have the basic rundown
of the issue, but don’t believe that Blu-ray is on
the way to the Xbox 360.

Among the reasons behind this are outlined
in a previous post I wrote about support in Media Center
.  All of these issues apply for the Xbox 360 as
well.

Quickly…

  • Blu-ray support means adding a Java-based BD-J interactivity
    layer to the Xbox 360.  Highly doubtful
    to ever happen
  • The video/audio codecs are not really in question here, both
    HD DVD and Blu-ray use the same basic codecs.
  • Blu-ray has extra DRM in BD+.  The Xbox 360 can already do AACS, but they
    are not going to add BD+ support. 
    Microsoft has been opposed to it from the start.

I really wish more respected sites like Engadget would stop
linking to well known false stories and publishers.

Related:

Fact or
Fiction: Microsoft and Blu-ray

More
Ramblings About Blu-ray & Xbox 360

28 thoughts on “Blu-ray on Xbox 360 Not Going to Happen

  1. Said before on the previous post: if Microsoft is stupid enough NOT to support the only remaining HD format, it is more stupid in a business sense than most of Microsoft critics already think they are.

    They simply can not afford to NOT support BR. Maybe not within a year, but definately later.

    An XBOX 360 without Bluray will give the market to the PS3.

    And no: HD downloads will not be a real alternative to most people out there for at least another two years.

  2. I have to agree with Xander – MS may be stubborn but they aren’t stupid. The XBOX-360 will be at a competitive disadvantage to the PS3 if it doesn’t add BR.

    Media Center will also have to add BR support at some time – can you imagine if MC did not support DVDs right now? Not supporting BR in a couple of years will be just as ridiculous.

  3. MP3 won the war, didn’t stop Microsoft from pushing WMA like crazy. DVD won, Microsoft didn’t include DVD decoders in Windows until Vista! Some might say H.264 has won over VC-1, didn’t stop Microsoft from pushing VC-1 and not directly supporting H.264 in many of their products. JPEG, JPEG2000, and PNG seem fine to me, didn’t stop Microsoft from doing HD Photo (now JPEG XR).

    Since when has Microsoft accepted given standards and supported them out front?

    The Xbox 360 is a gaming console first. Adding Blu-ray (internal) doesn’t benefit games because developers can’t use BD. External means people still have to buy an external drive, while the external HD DVD has sold some units it is by far not an after thought and not a main selling point for the general customer (I think the total is under 300,000).

    If someone is looking is buy a game console, the PS3 is the only one that will give them included Blu-ray. Sony is still taking a big hit for it and it’s no where near profitable.

    Microsoft can add Blu-ray, pass the cost on to you when only a small percent will use it. It really doesn’t benefit them like it did Sony.

  4. I was (am?) a big supporter of HD-DVD. I am stunned that the better and cheaper technology did not win. Even now, I would have to spend twice what I did on my HD-DVD investment just to get a player.

    But it is clear, at this point, that BluRay will be the winner for disc based HiDef content. While digital downloads will some be the way we get our content, that day is not here yet. There are too many issues that make it a non-go for consumers. So, for the short-term, BluRay is the way to go. Microsoft would be giving way too much to Sony if it doesn’t support BluRay soon. Regardless of how it feels about Java, they need to produce a player for the XBox or they will see their marketshare drop and they will become a third-place player again (despite being the best game console).

  5. Again, why no BD-J and BD+?

    MS has been very keen on giving users the choice of playing discbased HD content.

    Yes they prefered HDDVD, but that didn’t work out in the end. Consumers in the end chose (or were forced to choose) Bluray. I don’t think MS will hold a grudge to Bluray. Holding grudges is the worst business practice you can imagine.

  6. MS may not like BD+, but I believe AACS has been irretrievably broken and BD+ is still uncrackable. That’s a pretty good reason for even MS to admit that BD+ is needed.

    In fact, I have to believe the copy protection issue was a material factor in Blu-Ray winning the war and am surprised it hasn’t been cited by the press as one reason for the victory.

    I can certainly see how MS would hate supporting Java which is a competing platform/programming language, but they (hopefully) won’t have a choice.

  7. I think Xander is correct on this issue. MS HAS to support BD and give consumers the option of an external drive. If they don’t the PS3 will blow past them in sales and put the XBox back in 3rd place.

    To Chris’s point about the XBox being a game console only, why did they ever make a HD DVD drive in the first place? MS heavily promotes the media capabilities of the 360 and without BD support it will be irrelevant. Come on MS, please do the right thing and quickly add BD support.

  8. Well, its official, Toshiba pulled the plug from HD-DVD.
    So, for Microsoft this means: either support Bluray in the XBox and Windows MCE or skip the HD optical media altogether and give the market to Sony until HD downloads pick up (which will be at least another two years).

    And to the comments that the XBOX is only a gaming console:
    – that is not the way MS markets it. It is marketed to be competative on every level with the PS3 (as XBOX 360, PS3 and WII owner, I can say it is not IMHO, but that’s beside the point). If it is ONLY a game console, it is very expensive at it’s present price point against the Wii and the PS3;
    – Also games will benefit from BluRay capacity;
    – And even if this argument would be true, what is than the argument for Windows Mediacenter? A Mediacenter with no native HD support will never gain huge momentum. I love Mediacenter, but than I might consider switching to alternative software like MythTV.

    But my guess: we will hear a MS BluRay announcements within two months now.

  9. Xander Mol: I get what you are saying, but look at how long the Xbox 360 is at this point. It launched in late 2005, it’s now 2008. If BD is to come to a Microsoft console, I’d just make it the Xbox 720.

    Games don’t benefit at all, because developers can’t limit playback to Xbox’s with BD drives. You cut out people over 17 million units. Games devs will not do it and Microsoft will not allow them too.

  10. To be honest, I don’t really think blu-ray support for the XBOX 360 is that important. HD downloads are becoming more popular. The cost of a play-only BLU-RAY device will plummet with consumer demand and more vendors. So, who cares about BLU-RAY support for the XBOX for the most part. They reason to offer a device is basically to match Sony feature for feature which I don’t think is necessary.It probably is not that big of deal anyways.

    What I care about is BLU-RAY support for MCE and playback in MCE extenders. I was hoping the HD-DVD managed copy thing was going to work out. I believe this is where the real issue is. I would like to think Fiji will have this, but I have some doubts…I want native BLU-RAY playback in MCE. I want to be able to stream content from a central location containing my blu-ray discs I purchase.

    As I said, I have my doubts…We will see what MS comes up with.

    JP

  11. Chrisl:  Have you not seen the latest NPD data?  After it was obvious that Bluray won, the ps3 sells have finally surpassed the 360.  People have been waiting to decide which way to go for hd and its obvious.  You will see hd movies now selling more, and you will continue to see PS3 to continue to outsell the 360.  Microsoft has to do something to combat this.

    shacknews.com/…/51334

  12. The PS3 getting more sales could have nothing to do with the significantly lower price point it is now at? Blu-ray has had the sales lead over HD DVD for months and months, way before all the recent events.

    I’m not disagreeing that Microsoft shouldn’t do something. Frankly, Blu-ray is the format. HD DVD is no more. I want to be able to play Blu-ray discs as much as the next guy.

    I’m simply taking things from a different point of view. Microsoft opposed much of thing technology in Blu-ray from the start, hence why they supported HD DVD.

    I really don’t think the Xbox 360 and Blu-ray needs to happen. AFAIK, no one really knows that consumers want Blu-ray as a part of the Xbox 360. The majority of PS3 owners just like the concept of it having Blu-ray, despite the fact the vast majority have never purchased a BD title.

  13. Eventually the xbox will need to support a larger format just to handle developers larger games… but yes, probably in the next version of the xbox.

    I agree with the DRM issue for the reason the stuidos jumped onboard with blu-ray.

    Ditto on the engadget comment Chris! I’ve been reading that site faithfully for the last 6 months. More often than not stories regarding MS are negative. I was suprised when they said something negative about the macbook air.

  14. Being from the UK, one of the big +ve’s of HD-DVD was that it was region free, something that rarely causes the US a problem, but is a nightmare for the rest of the world. A reason that Blu-Ray won, could be that the PS3 sold because of brand loyalty, but with no games of merit the software attachment came in the form of films rather than games. The Xbox 360, I gather, has a game attachment rate of about 6:1, better than either the PS3 or the Wii. The sales in January could be down to Xbox’s not being available or the fact that outside the holiday periods the Xbox is going to plateau, as its the most mature next gen console out of the three.

  15. no, I don’t think the lower price point has anything to do with it considering the 40gb version was introduced nov2. And the 360 was way ahead of the ps3 during nov and dec.

    http://www.us.playstation.com/News/PressReleases/429

    NPD data for all of 2007.
    http://www.shacknews.com/images/image-o-matic.x?/images/sshots/Art/9069/9069_47911d234ada5.jpg

    I think it might have something to do with the shortages of 360’s though like microsoft has claimed.

    That being said if you look at the software sales from the NPD for January

    http://shacknews.com/onearticle.x/51336

    you’ll notice that there is no ps3 games on the top 10. It kind of makes you think that maybe more people are using the ps3 as a bluray player and less as a console. Also considering there is no cheap bluray player like there was for hddvd, the ps3 has a lot going for it, and microsoft has to notice this.

  16. Chris L,
    I just saw your Jan 25th blog which included an explanation of the technical issues with BD+. That does sound like it will not happen anytime soon. However, MS seems to have a long-term vision for Mediacenter/convergence, and it’s going to be hard to push this vision without support for the dominant (eventually) physical video format.

    I’m pretty sure we’ll never see a Blu-Ray drive built into the 360, or even an add-on drive, but one would hope they’d support it natively in Mediacenter one day and allow streaming.
    Cheers

  17. Microsoft WILL support Blu-Ray just like they had to support the Internet.
    Remember how when Windows ’95 launched, they said they would create their own network, and what a big failure that became ?
    After a short while, they had to swallow their pride.
    MS doesn’t like Java ?
    MS doesn’t like Bluray ?
    Too bad, because the world has just chosen to endorse that format.
    And if MS doesn’t like it, too bad, their OS will surely survive, but it will suffer.
    And if Mediacenter does not support it that will suffer too.
    Mind you, I did not really care which format won, but I sure as hell was not going to buy any player or writer before this war was decided.
    Now Microsoft can sulk all they want, but life goes on, if necessary even without Microsoft…

  18. P: I’m positive they will not use “blue-ray” in the near future because there is no such thing.  😉

    If you are talking about Blu-ray, maybe you can back that up with some reasons why, or maybe you don’t have any??

  19. 360 will support BD.. its commen sense at the end of the day its all about the $$$ and hey MS doesnt want Sony to have all the $$$ right.. i think MS knew ahead of time that HD dvd was gonna tank and i m sure when they did know they have been working on a external BD for the 360 and i am sure it will come sometime this year.. remember that this yr 360 will have a external BD!!!!! no matter what.. Its all about making that $$$ and i am sure MS have learn from there past screw ups that the majority always wins so get ready tp pay a little more for that external BD..

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