The high definition format war is almost over with Blu-Ray winning the field. Microsoft was supporting the HD DVD format by offering the HD DVD player add-on for their XBOX 360 gaming system. In an announcement made today they made clear that HD DVD will be pulled as add-ons for the XBOX 360 as well.
Roughly 300.000 HD DVD player add-ons have been sold for the XBOX 360 and the owners find themselves in an awkward position although the HD DVD player was never needed for gaming purposes and won't have an impact on that.
Microsoft has two options at the moment. They could create a Blu-Ray add-on for the XBOX 360 which I think is unlikely or they could push digital downloads which is the most likely scenario. The major problem in my opinion is the size of the hard drive which seems way to small for huge digital downloads.
Update: It is four years later and things have settled down. The Playstation 3 is still the only gaming system with a Blu-Ray player, while Microsoft decided to keep the DVD player the Xbox 360 shipped with as the standard player even for newer models of the Xbox 360 the company released.
Things have shifted from a gaming market dominated by discs to a market that is more and more making use of direct game downloads. While all major games are still released on disc for Xbox 360 and PS3, it is not uncommon that they are also offered as a digital download for the systems as well.
It was rumored at one point in time that next gen consoles would ship without disc drives, but that seems unlikely let alone for compatibility reasons. Many gamers want to play old games they have purchased for this generation of video game systems on a new console, which would not be possible without disc drive.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.