Microsoft to stop making HD DVD players for Xbox
NEW YORK – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) will stop making video players based on the HD DVD standard for its Xbox 360 game system, a move that comes days after Toshiba Corp (6502.T) pulled the plug on the high definition movie technology. The move, announced on Saturday, follows recent decisions by Hollywood studios such as Time Warner Inc’s (TWX.N) Warner Bros and retailer Wal-Mart (WMT.N) to exclusively back Sony Corp’s (6758.T) Blu-ray, a high-definition video technology rival to HD DVD.
Microsoft had been one of the biggest backers of HD DVD along with Intel Corp (INTC.O), but the tide turned against HD DVD after Warner Bros, which had supported both, defected to Blu-ray last month.
Microsoft said it does not see the decision having any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or its position in the market. It pledged to continue product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD players that it has already sold.
Microsoft, in a statement on its GamerScoreBlog, posted by marketing executive John Porcaro, said it did not “believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.” The bundling of movie players is a key added feature in the battle for dominance in the next-generation video game console market, where players like Microsoft and Sony see their devices as hubs for delivering games, movies and Web content to living room television.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 has a Blu-ray player built in.
“HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room…,” Microsoft’s statement said.
Microsoft, which previously said it would consider supporting Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, did not say if it would make Blu-Ray players.