Microsoft drop HD-DVD add-on
Without much fanfare, and being almost the last one hanging onto the thought of HD-DVD, Microsoft have announced that they are stopping production of the HD-DVD add-on drive for the XBox 360.
What's interesting is that they say nothing about any possible Blu-ray support, and with previous comments they've made it would seem that there are no intentions to do so, despite it being the clear high definition disc choice.
Previous comments have suggested that Microsoft are looking to the online model, something they've said many times before.
John Porcaro who is a senior manager in Microsoft's Global Games Marketing Team wrote on the company's Gamerscore blog through The Hollywood Reporter:
"...as a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD players in the market."
Even when they were continuing to support HD-DVD they were clear that the online model is the way they wanted to go. Download and watch on your XBox 360 but not take it anywhere else, just store it there forever or delete it. As Porcaro says later on in the blog:
"As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. 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, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own."
Several ways? Two that'll be - online and HD-DVD, and with dropping HD-DVD I don't see what other way they are offering it, unless you argue that since they can connect to media servers they can stream it from another machine that has their missing high definition source.
I think Microsoft are missing a trick here, like they did by not putting an HDMI in the original 360, they're restricting the choice of their user, forcing them to take their offerings even if the user doesn't want them, or can't have them. What about home broadband speeds, sure you're fine in some countries but in the UK we're struggling with high speeds, and although you'll see higher speeds in adverts getting them to your home is a different matter.
I don't like this model. Not because it's Microsoft or HD-DVD, just because it's so restrictive. The marketplace, consumer, supplier and producer, have all decided that the high definition lead is Blu-ray, and Microsoft seem to be ignoring that, digging their heels in and throwing their toys out of the pram.
Give people the option.