No, Xbox 360 Isn’t Getting Blu-ray on Monday

Another day, another
horrible rumor
.  Microsoft will not
announce that the Xbox 360 is getting Blu-ray on Monday.

This latest rumor does give me a good chance to cover Shane Kim of Microsoft Game Studios saying the Xbox 360
to last seven years
.  This would clearly go against what I’ve been
saying about the shelf life of the Xbox 360 playing into Blu-ray considerations,
so I’ll admit that I’m wrong on that front. 
That said, I still don’t see an Xbox Blu-ray addition near-term.

If they are going to stick with
the Xbox 360 and focus on games, the community aspect, media downloads, etc
then a Blu-ray Disc drive still doesn’t fit into their plans.  An
drive isn’t can’t be used for games, an external drive is not going to allow
the Xbox 360 to compete
with the price of the
PS3.  There is still little advantage
from Microsoft’s perspective to do Blu-ray in the Xbox 360.

Console design and graphics are
getting to the point where the Xbox 720 will most likely not blow you away in
comparison to the Xbox 360.  What has
more chance of bringing in gamers are new experiences, which is why you will
see that
motion sensing controller before year’s end
.  On the media side, downloads are still
Microsoft’s business more than ever, Blu-ray isn’t.

Update: Bach says
no Blu-ray on Xbox 720

17 thoughts on “No, Xbox 360 Isn’t Getting Blu-ray on Monday

  1. I agree with downloads being the way of the future and thats why I dont get that you cant download the recent games like gta4 from microsoft. or cache them on disk..

  2. Another good update, Chris.

    Regarding the whole Xbox 360 and Blu-ray, I have to wonder about Microsoft’s resistance to Blu-ray (and yes, I have read your comments on this). The fact that Microsoft can’t justify a business model which brings a high capacity optical drive (aka Blu-ray) into the Xbox 360 is not really the concern of consumers.

    Ya, it was great that Microsoft (soft-of) backed the HD-DVD format, but since they didn’t “give it their all”, another format (Blu-ray) was able to usurp HD-DVD. Ok Microsoft, get over it, and get behind the Blu-ray format.

    Whether Xbox 360 _needs_ a high capacity optical storage format is really a separate issue.

    Downloads are just not practical today, and won’t be for many years. There just is not enough bandwidth to download a 30GB game in a timely manner, let alone the local hard disk space required to store these games.

    The Shane Kim article is quite revealing on this topic. Shane states that lack of a high capacity optical disk (aka Blu-ray) is not a technical limitation. He then mentions that game developers will need to consider multi-DVD games for the Xbox 360 (as their content exceeds the capacity of a single DVD), and then goes on to say that the “challenge is then for the developers to create an experience that doesn’t involve a whole bunch of constant disc swapping”. Okaaaay. The fact that there is a “challenge for developers” screams that there is a glaring technical limitation. One that game developers for the PS3 won’t have to deal with.

  3. Albert: No way it is true, but your right we will know in just a few hours.

    CoupleOfPoints: The lack of Blu-ray as a storage format for the Xbox 360 might be a technical limitation, but it really doesn’t matter at this point. Microsoft can’t make the shift to Blu-ray for game storage, you kill off the 10+ mil Xbox 360s out there. That kills several things, including developers who would never limit there market for 10+ mil to however many BD Xbox’s might ship (eg. not 10 mil).

    If anything, Blu-ray would have to be a movie only format for the Xbox 360.

  4. I don’t see blu-ray being adopted for games until the next version of the xbox. As mentioned it alienates far to many current 360 owners.

    I see blu-ray added now strictly because MS needs this to prevent the PS3 from being the gaming machine of choice for those gamers trying to make the decision about which machine to buy.

    I don’t expect to see this tomorrow… I just don’t think MS has had enough time to design, develop and bring it to market. I’d love to be proven wrong but I doubt that I am.

    …and as already stated, digital downloads are a new delivery option, one that is not yet front-and-center in consumer’s minds (the way optical media solutions are). That may change, but it’s not there yet, hopefully MS isn’t being short-sighted and leaving out optical media in their quest to win the living room.

  5. I’m sorry but Microsoft NEEDS to release a version of the 360 with a Blu-Ray drive built in AND a Blu-Ray add-on drive like the HD-DVD one to cater for existing console owners.

    I know of at least 6 people in my circle of friends that have listed “Blu-Ray Playback” being the primary reason they bought a PS3.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the PS3 is the best value (I don’t mean cheapest) Blu-Ray player on the market, and consumers are seeing this. In the UK, the cheapest Blu-Ray standalone player is around £200, the PS3 is £280. If you want a Blu-Ray player, it’s a no brainer really. Pay the extra £80 and have a top of the line games console too!

    Microsoft need to seriously get behind the Blu-Ray format to prevent the PS3 from overtaking the Xbox 360 in sales, and they need to do it quickly.

  6. Would your friends purchase a Xbox 360 with Blu-ray that cost more and had less BD related features than the PS3?  At this point, that’s what you are looking at with an Xbox and Blu-ray.  PS3 is still a better value.  In this light, Microsoft doesn’t need Blu-ray in the Xbox because it still isn’t a good value to the customer.

    As I’ve talked about before, Blu-ray is used in most peoples list as a buzzword, and in fact they don’t ever plain on using it as a Blu-ray Disc Player (instead they just have a BD player now).  Not true for all the market, but BD is still not mainstream and Microsoft would rather it never be mainstream.

  7. I can see it, of course it will undergo a redesign in order to save money, providing better cooling, small chip, etc. I don’t think the graphics will vastly involve, so why not stick with the current platform? As long as developers are happy and putting out good content, and Microsoft keeps providing Dashboard upgrades with new features I think 2010-2011 is very doable.

  8. You’re right graphics have likely plateaued for now and a mid-cycle redesign is a must, but 2012 just seems so far off especially for game consoles. If sales start to lag I could see Microsoft wanting to get something fresh out there.

  9. Lower console prices are key for Microsoft to drive growth in the near term. By forgoing blu-ray…Microsoft is better positioned to navigate these economic times. I think the harddisk model must be priced under $300 by the end of this year.

  10. I find comments like “Microsoft doesn’t need Blu-ray in the Xbox because it still isn’t a good value to the customer” interesting.

    Actually, Blu-ray in an Xbox 360 would be a great value for Xbox customers, in the same way a Blu-ray drive in the PS3 is a great value for PS3 customers.

    As a consumer, I really don’t care that Microsoft can’t justify a business model which includes Blu-ray in Xbox 360. That’s their problem. Microsoft needs to figure out how to attract new Xbox 360 customers without alienating existing customers. That is, unless they assume that those “10+ mil” existing customers represent market saturation and are all they will ever get (if so, I think they would be quite myopic).

    Microsoft needs to explore business models that include both an internal Blu-ray SKU as well as the same functionality in an external Blu-ray drive for existing customers.

    The Blu-ray drive in an Xbox 360 must be used for games, to ensure that multi-disc DVD games NEVER have to be created or even thought about, with the added benefit that consumers could also use the Blu-ray drive to play movies.

  11. CoupleOfPoints: PS3 with Blu-ray is good to the customer because Sony takes the hit on the drives.  Microsoft most likely wouldn’t take the hit, which means higher prices for the consumer.  That’s not good considering the average person trying to decide between the PS3 and Xbox 360 w/ Blu-ray is still going to pick the PS3 because it is a better value.

    I’m not sure you understood the point of games on Blu-ray.  You just can’t do it.  Like you said, you don’t want to alienate your current customer base (which is 10+ mil) so why in the world would you allow developers to publish on BD?  Even more so, why in the world would devs want to publish on BD and lose 10+ mil off their market?  That’s crazy.

  12. I never understand why people still perpetuate this rumor. it’s been popping up every 6 weeks now.

    why in gods name would they push BD for games mid-cycle? so a tiny percentage of people could buy them? which company would do that? why?

  13. I don’t think anyone who thinks about this issues for any lenght of time would suggest blu-ray for games with the current 360.

    Regardless if MS loses money putting a BR driver in the machine, it needs to be done so they can continue to sell games, accessories,

    The console was a loss leader and only recently went into the black, to keep market share they may have to return to being in the red.

    This rumor keeps coming up because a lot of folks feel that the 360 is quickly starting to lose momentum, and a lot of people (especially those who’ve already invested in the platform) want it to remain viable.

  14. Your comment sort of summarizes the whole point: “That’s not good considering the average person trying to decide between the PS3 and Xbox 360 w/ Blu-ray is still going to pick the PS3 because it is a better value.”

    If I am reading this correctly, you are saying that Microsoft can’t compete with PS3, given a need for a high capacity optical drive (aka Blu-ray). In order to effectively compete, Microsoft will need to change their business model!

    Regarding those existing Xbox 360 owners, yes, Microsoft can do it. They can simply offer an external Blu-ray drive for existing customers when games which require Blu-ray come out. This is really no different from Microsoft requiring PC customers to upgrade to Vista in order to play Halo 2.

    On Microsoft’s side, at least for now, the _gaming_ need for a Blu-ray drive is mostly moot, since AFAIK, current Xbox 360 and PS3 games fit on a DVD. But what about new games that come out in the next couple years that require lots more storage that only Blu-ray can provide? PS3 is ready for that challenge. Xbox 360, unfortunately, comes up short for optical storage. Even if one considers the possibility of downloading 10-25GB of game data and storing it on a local hard disk, the Xbox 360 is limited since the bandwidth necessary to download that much data in a reasonable timeframe is likely not to be ubiquitous and besides, Xbox 360 doesn’t have the local hard disk storage anyway (conservatively, 20 games at 15GB each is 300GB of local drive space just for game storage).

    The bottom line is that once high capacity games start appearing, current Xbox 360 owners are going to have to either upgrade to an external Blu-ray drive, or upgrade to larger hard disk drives.

    Also, another complication when looking at the download model, is that one has to consider the whole issue of needing a high bandwidth Internet connection, which of course assumes that ISPs won’t go to a pay per GB model (which some are experimenting with now).

  15. remain viable? market share?

    GAMES sell consoles. not attachments and added drives. the hardcore market is already saturated. everyone who wants a 360 probably already has one. if they want to get in to the casual market or get people to pick one up on a when they need to drop the price to less than $200 or so. see: Wii

    adding a crazy expensive BR drive to the system won’t entice new people. you’ll get a few of the hardcore to buy in, but not in enough numbers to justify it.

    and who then are you pandering to? bloggers who are upset about declining market share? people who need to be invigorated?

    this makes no sense what so ever.

    if you want excitement: roll out the netflix deal, increase the marketplace for movies and tv shows, get some GAME exclusives on the platform.

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