An Xbox big cheese in Japan has said that although future generations of its 360 may sport an HD-DVD drive, it won't be used for gaming.
Head of Xbox operations in Japan, Yoshihiro Maruyama, dropped the bombshell in an interview with Japanese video game mag Famitsu Xbox earlier this week.
Commenting on the inclusion of the next-gen format in future verisons of the 360 he said: "It's a possibility, but it won't have any relationship to gaming. If the Xbox 360 uses a next-generation DVD drive in the future, it will only be used for watching movies that run on next-generation DVDs. The format for games will remain as DVD. That's not going to change."
While it might seem a little premature to be talking about future generations of a console that won't be released for another month in the UK, it is a surprising statement considering the impending arrival of the PS3, which will be fully equipped with Blu-Ray.
As we reported here, the PS3 may not be with us till 2007, but when it does land, its Blu-Ray discs will be able to hold between 25GB-50GB of information compared to just 4.7GB on a standard DVD.
As consoles are made or broken by their games catalogue, this could have repurcussions for Xbox 360 and PS3's head-to-head battle. With potentially ten times more info on a Blu-Ray disc, the PS3 will stand a much better chance of creating the sprawling worlds next-gen gamers will expect than the older 360. The solution of using multiple DVDs is likely to be too messy and complex to entertain too.
Still, after our recent viewing of the Xbox's multimedia capabilities (here), 2007 seems a long way off. Besides, we're still trying to decide which version of the first 360 to buy without worrying about a future HD-DVD model. We've got Halo 3 in our heads, and that's enough for now.