Microsoft Mulls Future of HD

Dennis Faas's picture

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be the attitude of Microsoft now that Warner Bros has decided to back Sony's Blu-ray in the high definition movie format war. Although the Redmond-based company once stood firmly behind Toshiba's rival HD-DVD, things appear to be changing very quickly in the Pacific northwest.

For those who haven't heard, Warner Bros recently dealt Blu-ray a pair of aces ('bullets') in the high stakes game for next generation's movie format. By turning its nose up at HD-DVD, Warner may have finally put the final nail in Toshiba's coffin; although the tech company's brass recently assured HD-DVD owners that it "has not lost", word from Microsoft suggests the very opposite.

In a statement earlier this week, Microsoft Xbox hardware marketing manager Albert Penello said the war should be based on "consumer choice," and if it's Blu-ray they want, "that's something we'll have to consider." In other words, Microsoft may already be scrambling to ensure Sony isn't the only hardware company that will make some serious cash out of Blu-ray's triumph.

At the same time, Microsoft -- at least on the surface -- remains hesitant to completely give up the ghost on HD-DVD. When asked about Warner's decision, Penello remarked, "You can't say it's not a bummer, not a setback, but I've seen this battle declared over so many times."

Most of all, Penello seems concerned with assuring Xbox 360 owners -- and especially potential Xbox 360 owners -- that Warner's decision will not affect the console wars. "I fundamentally don't think...this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus (Sony's) PlayStation 3," he said. (Source:

For now, it won't. The Xbox 360 remains far ahead of PS3 when it comes to critically-acclaimed software, the primary reason most gamers purchase a system. However, if Sony is to get it together in the game market, the upswing in PlayStation 3 sales could unwittingly put an end to Toshiba's HD-DVD. (Source:

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