Microsoft not all that focused on high definition for Xbox

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - While Microsoft as a company has played a major role in high definition home media, it is not really concerned with how that will play out in the Xbox 360 market.

Aaron Greenberg, group product manager for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, told TG Daily that although HD DVD's demise is unfortunate, it does "not at all" affect the console's position as an entertainment center.

"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. Market data shows that HD movie playback is not a primary purchase driver for consumers buying video game consoles," said Greenberg.

He added that "only a small fraction" of Xbox 360 owners actually bought the HD DVD add-on.  Microsoft's main HD focus for the Xbox 360 has always been the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, which continues to add movies that aren't available in high-def anywhere else.  

However, Greenberg told us that there will not be any added focus to that service as a result of the HD DVD demise.  He added that Microsoft's decision to stop supporting the format does "not at all" affect the console's value as an all-encompassing media center.

In addition to manufacturing the Xbox add-on, Microsoft also helped create the HDi technology, which powered the disc's advanced features.  "Microsoft is currently looking at how the technology can be applied to other platforms," said Greenberg.

The other issue at stake is whether or not the Xbox 360 can compete with the Playstation 3 in terms of game capacity, but Greenberg told us Microsoft's DVD engineering has made that a moot point.  "I think it is pretty fair to say that our DVD-9 format coupled with our industry leading online service continues to allow game publishers to bring the best and most expansive games to our platform. 'Mass Effect' is a great proof point," he told us.  "It fits on a single DVD-9. The same is true for 'Halo 3.'"