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MS Blu-ray Xbox to come at high price, still at loss?

updated 11:45 am EDT, Wed April 2, 2008

Blu-ray Xbox 360 Price

Microsoft's increasingly rumored Xbox 360 with Blu-ray is not only likely but has received additional clues as to its pricing, says an apparent leak by sources close to the building process. In addition to reiterating claims that the Blu-ray drive would be built-in to the new consoles rather than sold as an add-on, the tip alleges that Microsoft will have to raise the price of the console due to the continued high prices of the HD-capable drives. A typical read-only Blu-ray drive is said to cost as much as $100 to make, or five times the price of the DVD reader in the existing console.

Despite higher prices, Microsoft will likely still have to sell the console at a loss to offer a competitive advantage, according to the report. The lowest-cost PlayStation 3 is currently priced at $399, which would make it impractical to raise the price of the $350 Xbox 360 Pro more than $50 while remaining competitive. Sony doesn't currently offer a higher-end PS3 and so is less likely to affect a conversion of the $450 Xbox 360 Elite, though the former sold its 80GB model at $500 until quietly phasing it out in recent months.

The unverified upgrade would take place in the later portion of the year but may encounter setbacks from Sony, which the sources note could potentially sabotage Microsoft's efforts. The Japanese company produces the blue laser read heads used for Blu-ray and could slow the supply of those heads to companies assembling future Xbox 360s, hindering Microsoft's ability to produce systems on time.

Microsoft has continued to deny plans for a Blu-ray version of the Xbox, insisting that it wants to avoid tying the Xbox to the success of an individual disc format.

by MacNN Staff



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