MS denies it will release HD-DVD compatible 360 next year

Japanese report prompts denial.

Microsoft says that it currently has no plans to release an Xbox 360 equipped with a next-generation DVD player.

The unusually direct statement is a straightforward denial of a report from a Japanese news service yesterday, which claimed that the company planned to launch an HD-DVD compatible Xbox 360 in 2006.

"Microsoft, in both America and Japan, has not announced anything regarding the possibility of a next generation DVD drive being placed in the Xbox 360," a Microsoft spokesperson told IGN. "There are currently no plans to release an Xbox 360 equipped with a next generation DVD player."

Which is fair enough, although you do wish they'd make their minds up. Back in August, Bill Gates himself said: "We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capacity of an HD-DVD player or something else."

And just last month, Microsoft's Japanese Xbox chief Yoshihiro Maruyama said, "it's a possibility" although he did add that it wouldn't have anything to do with games. "If the Xbox 360 uses a next-generation DVD drive in the future, it will only be used for watching movies that run on next-generation DVDs," he said.

The topic of high-capacity storage is of particular interest because of concerns that standard DVDs - even dual layer versions that can store around 9GB of data - may not be enough to hold all the necessary game data developers want, particularly later in the console's life as programmers and artists come to terms with the machine's capabilities.

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