In the wake of Microsoft's CES announcement of a peripheral HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360, the company's gaming division boss Peter Moore has revealed that a Blu-Ray drive could also be on the cards for the system.
Speaking with Japanese website ITMedia at the huge electronics show in Las Vegas last week, Moore said that a Blu-Ray drive for the Xbox 360 could be released if the Blu-Ray standard, which is backed by Sony, wins the next-generation DVD format battle.
Microsoft currently supports Toshiba's rival HD-DVD specification over Sony's Blu-Ray, but the company uses standard DVDs for Xbox 360 games and will only support HD-DVD movies with the release of the new external drive later this year.
By contrast, the PlayStation 3 will have an internal Blu-Ray drive, which, according to Moore, will be a major limitation for Sony if the Blu-Ray standard fails to take off and HD-DVD becomes the dominant standard.
Moore believes that by building a console with the ability to support either standard through an external drive, Microsoft has given itself the opportunity to adapt to whichever standard wins out in the end - although of course, the price of updating to the winning standard will be borne by the consumer.
At present, the weight of opinion among analysts seems to be that Blu-Ray has a strong lead in this particular battle, with the majority of film studios set to release content on Sony's format. HD-DVD has also lost ground by not shipping in 2005; Toshiba had originally hoped to have a strong first-mover advantage over Sony, but both formats will now be released on roughly the same timetable.