|The writing was already on the wall, but now Microsoft has made it official too: HD DVD is dead. In a post-GDC press release, Microsoft has thrown the last shovelful of dirt onto the coffin; of course, we have it on good authority that the price of the HD DVD Xbox 360 add-on is going to take a nose-dive in price.
"As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market," the company said in the release. "As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own."
Ars Technica had a chance to speak to Microsoft's John Schappert at a press breakfast, and while questions about possible Blu-ray drives were one of the more popular talking points, the prospect doesn't seem likely. "We are not talking about a Blu-ray player," Schappert told us as we ate. It seems more likely Microsoft will continue to work on the video marketplace as the preferred distribution method for high-definition content on the Xbox 360. Schappert also stressed to us that the system is primarily a gaming machine.
If you happen to have a 360 HD DVD drive, say hello to what is now an orphaned device.