Microsoft says possible end of HD DVD won't impact Xbox 360

No matter what Toshiba decides to do about HD DVD, Microsoft says the decision will have little bearing on the Xbox 360 game console, for which the Redmond company sells and HD DVD add-on.

Microsoft had aligned behind HD DVD from the beginning. The company helped create the HDi interactivity platform used by the format, and offered an external player hooked to its flagship game console. Sony, in contrast, built a Blu-ray player into the PlayStation 3 and used the format for its game discs.

Many industry watchers credit the PlayStation 3 for helping Sony get Blu-ray players into homes despite low standalone player sales, enabling the company enlist the support of more studios and manufacturers than HD DVD.

The recent defection of Warner Bros. to Blu-ray for that reason has led Toshiba to re-think its HD DVD business, and the company is rumored to be considering pulling the plug on the format as soon as this week.

"We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we've long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry," Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft told BetaNews at CES in January that it has not ruled out making a Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360, a sentiment that was seemingly echoed Monday. "We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player," the company said.

Still, Microsoft sees digital distribution to be the future for movies and other entertainment, much like Apple. "We will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own," Microsoft added.

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