Xbox 2 to Skip Next-Generation Optical Technology?

The Inquirer is running a story claiming the Xbox successor will use a standard DVD drive instead of next generation optical technology such as HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc. Last year, the HD DVD Promotion Group publicly announced its intention to convince Microsoft that HD DVD is the best next-generation optical disc format to power the Xbox successor. Since Sony is behind Blu-ray Disc technology, HD DVD seemed as the logical choice for the Xbox 2.

If, as rumors claim, Microsoft plans to release the next Xbox by the end of the year — just in time for the holiday season, it could be possible that the software giant might have been forced to drop the new technology not just for cost issues but also because of release schedules. In December, NEC Corp. announced it completed the development of an optical head capable of playing back HD DVDs, DVDs, and CDs but these drives won’t be available before the fourth quarter of 2005.

Sony has officially confirmed that its next generation PlayStation will use the Blu-ray Disc ROM (BD-ROM) format and therefore everyone expects Microsoft to choose HD DVD for the next Xbox but now that The Inquirer has dropped the bomb, we should have to wait for an official announcement that confirms Microsoft choice.