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Ballmer hints at Blu-ray accessories for Xbox 360

Has Microsoft CEO let slip a secret or merely "misspoken" once again?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has appeared to suggest that a Blu-ray drive will shortly be made available for the Xbox 360 as a standalone accessory.

In exerts from a forthcoming interview at Gizmodo, Ballmer responded to a question about Blu-ray compatibility on the Xbox 360 by saying: "I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there - you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories".

Although the quote appears unambiguous Ballmer has a history of inaccurate comments regarding Microsoft's Xbox business. Most recently he was forced to retract a statement which implied that a new Xbox 360 model would be released at retail this year - after he apparently became confused over plans for the forthcoming Project Natal hardware.

A statement from Microsoft, also obtained by Gizmodo, states: "Our immediate solution for Blu-ray-quality video on an Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment." Neither service be available outside of North America this year.

As Eurogamer affiliate Digital Foundry points out a Blu-ray peripheral makes little sense given the technical difficulties and the inadvisability of splitting the Xbox 360 market by releasing games on the format - presumably leaving any potential add-on as a movie-only player similar to the ill-fatted HD-DVD peripheral.

As Digital Foundry suggests Ballmer actually seemed to be talking about standalone Blu-ray players and may simply have used the word "accessories" by accident.

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