Microsoft has reaffirmed that it will not release an Xbox 360 revision featuring an internal HD-DVD drive - in the face of speculation that the external HD-DVD drive announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this week will be used for game data storage somewhere down the line.
That's something that the company denies. "Right now it's focused purely on movie playback," Peter Moore told GameSpot in the CES aftermath. "Think of the drive as something that lets you play high-definition movies on the Xbox 360." The company has yet to announce pricing or settle on a connection method for the drive.
Moore added - as many have done - that releasing an Xbox 360 with an internal HD-DVD drive would fragment the install base. The idea for the drive, which Microsoft expects to ship during 2006, is simply to give 360 owners the option of watching HD-DVD movies.
That said, Moore admitted that the battle for control of the next-generation DVD format between the Toshiba-backed HD-DVD and Sony's Blu-ray solution, which will be part of PlayStation 3 from day one, will ultimately be decided by consumer choice, just as VHS vs. Betamax was back in the day.
Even so, commentators have already pegged the HD-DVD peripheral as something that could help developers struggling to fit sizable Xbox 360 games onto dual-layer DVDs. Moore says "developers are very comfortable with the storage options," but we've already heard from FromSoft, developer of JRPG Enchant Arms, that they're struggling to fit everything onto two discs.