After months of rumors and denials, the XBOX 360
with a Blu-ray disc drive is due
to be manufactured soon and shipped in Q3 of 2008. Pegatron Technology, an OEM subsidiary of Asustek Computer
, is reported to have received the winning order from Microsoft
for a Blu-ray equipped XBOX 360.
Earlier reports cited Lite-On as the company with the privilege of building the new console
for Microsoft. Lite-On is also currently one of the suppliers of the internal DVD drive fro the XBOX 360.
One of the strong points for Sony’s Playstation
3 has been the integrated Blu-ray player. The PS3 had the ability to draw both gamers and audio/video enthusiast, and this was proving to be a major advantage over its XBOX rival. It is estimated that 85% of Blu-ray players in use are PS3s. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer had admitted that Microsoft had been working on support for Blu-ray under Windows during this year’s Mix08 conference. Rumors began to swirl and many began to expect Microsoft to
announce a Blu-ray peripheral for the XBOX 360.
However, Microsoft came out and denied all rumors, stating that they were not exploring any kind of Blu-ray add-on or in talks with Sony about integrating Blu-ray into the XBOX experience. The software giant stated they would continue to invest in its XBOX Live online service as the means of high-definition content delivery. Toshiba received a crushing blow earlier this year at CES that Warner Brothers would be Blu-ray exclusive. This eventually led to Toshiba withdrawing from the HD format war and the demise of the XBOX 360’s HD-DVD add-on. It is interesting to note that sales of the XBOX 360 lagged behind Sony’s PS3 in the month of February, the same month Toshiba withdrew.
Many expected the death of HD-DVD would trigger a growth in Blu-ray hardware sales. However, to the dismay of the industry, acceptance and adoption of Blu-ray has been dismal.
The PS3 is one of the cheapest (relatively speaking) Blu-ray players available — and you get the console thrown in for good measure.