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Xbox 360 cannot play iTunes-purchased music - Microsoft

Microsoft's Jeff Henshaw has admitted that while Xbox 360 can interact with several generations of iPod, it will not be able to play back DRM-protected iTunes music.

It's a well-known fact that Xbox 360 will be able to stream music from iPod MP3 players on its "dashboard" front-end and to provide background music for games, but what's less well-known is that the next-generation console will be unable to play songs purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store.

That's according to Microsoft's Jeff Henshaw, who told CNET that because of the digital-rights-management (DRM) software in iPod, playback of those tracks was not possible. The songs will appear greyed out in menus when Xbox 360 owners attempt to access them.

Henshaw said Microsoft had tried to forge a partnership with Apple on the issue, but that Apple had rejected the idea.

During the same interview, Henshaw also declined to comment on whether Microsoft has had to engage in any reverse-engineering to achieve iPod compatibility. Neil Benson, creator of iPodcopy, polled in the same piece, said that the process of locating and accessing iPod's stored music was "more complicated than Microsoft is letting on".

Indeed, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to demonstrate how easy it all is - in demonstrations with journalists, company representatives have hooked up regular (pre-Video) iPods, iPod nanos, Sony PlayStation Portables, and other devices, and promised that the shipping Xbox 360 would feature support for an enormous variety of peripherals. Updates that open up access to future products are likely, Microsoft has said.

Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.