The war is barely over and we’re already hearing there was backroom dealing going on well before the final shots were fired. The Financial Times is reporting that Microsoft and Sony have been in talks for a while on getting Blu-Ray into the Xbox. No shit, really? I know this story is sweeping across the interwed but didn’t anyone see this coming? Microsoft wants to be the center of your home theater just as badly as anyone else and they need the current standard of hi-def viewing to be that. We now know that standard is Blu-ray. Microsoft didn’t get as hugely profitable as they are without hiring hundreds of business analysts to tell them what’s coming and help them plan for it. I’m guessing there has been much barking for this inside Microsoft for months, if not years. Always have a Plan B! We’ve always known that Microsoft’s partnership with HD was little more than a Barney situation. Everyone loves everyone, thanks, Wired. And what’s the point of a deal if there’s no money? So it’s a no-brainer to think that Microsoft would at least be talking to Sony about how they can import Blu-ray into the Xbox brand quickly and at a cost that works for everyone.
Now I get to speculate, which I love. How’s this going to unfold for the consumer? I see Microsoft deploying a two-fold strategy. First and soon, I believe we’ll see an add-on Blu-ray drive much in the same vain of the currently [ cheaply ] available Xbox HD DVD drive. I’d say they’ll even try to emulate the original pricing of that drive, keeping the Blu-ray model around $150. Then look for a new Xbox Elite in the fall. We’ve been hearing about a new case with Red Eye fix and a smaller, cooler running processor on its way for a while. That would seem a great opportunity to wedge Blu-ray right into the box. If done right and quickly, a plan like this could really take the air out of Sony’s perceived momentum bump since HD DVD officially surrendered.
Read the original Pink Paper story here. [Sorry, registration required by the Financial Times]