January 9, 2008 / 2:29 AM / 11 years ago

Microsoft's Xbox could consider Blu-ray support

Lucas Charbit (C) and Thomas Latina, both of France, play Rock Band on a Xbox 360 console at the AMD "Innovation Experience" during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp’s (6502.T) HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp’s (6758.T) rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday.

“It should be consumer choice; and if that’s the way they vote, that’s something we’ll have to consider,” Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware said when asked whether Microsoft would support a Blu-ray DVD accessory in the event that HD-DVD failed.

Microsoft does not believe the surprise decision last week by Time Warner Inc TWX.N unit Warner Bros, the top seller of home movies, to abandon HD-DVD format in favor of Blu-ray should affect sales of its Xbox 360 video game console, Penello said.

“I fundamentally don’t think ... this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus (Sony’s) PlayStation 3,” Penello told Reuters in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“With the PlayStation 2, DVD was a big part in the beginning, but over time, people were not buying it as a DVD player after first year or two,” Penello said.

The Xbox 360 supports a plug-in HD-DVD accessory that is bought separately, while Sony, hoping to give its next-generation video format a leg up, built a Blu-ray player into its PlayStation 3 machine.

“You can’t say it’s not a bummer, not a setback, but I’ve seen this battle declared over so many times,” Penello said of Warner’s decision.

“I want consumers to have a voice in this and I think there are a lot of consumers who bought HD-DVD who are going to have a say in how this shakes out.”

Warner Bros is the movie division of media conglomerate Time Warner Inc TWX.N.

Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Richard Chang

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