CES is about to get underway this week. If you roll back the clock fourteen years ago today, Microsoft announced that it would support HD-DVD in the next-gen format wars between Toshiba’s HD-DVD and Sony’s Blu-ray with an add-on for the Xbox 360.
Here’s our original story from January 5, 2006:
Just as Sony was busy supporting itself in the next-gen format wars, Microsoft announced at CES that an external HD-DVD drive would be available for the Xbox 360 by the end of the year, a rival format to Sony’s next-gen Blu-ray technology that will be used in PlayStation 3 systems. No price or release information was announced.
Furthermore, Microsoft announced that 50 Xbox 360 games would be available by the end of 2006, which seems pretty low, but we might see some more announcements by E3. Updated projections from Microsoft say that by June 2006, the company expects to have shipped 4.5 million to 5.5 million Xbox 360s worldwide.
The high-density external optical disc player connected to the Xbox 360 via a mini USB connection. Like other HD-DVD players, it was capable of playing both DVD and HD-DVD movies. The add-on came with a copy of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
The optional Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on never caught on with consumers, likely in large part due to its $199 price. All told, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player sold just over 300,000 units worldwide. It’s not super rare, but as a used relic, you can find it on eBay for about $30-$40.
Of course, we now know who won the format war. Blu-ray triumphed quite easily, thanks in large part to the PlayStation 3. An for its part, Microsoft included an internal Blu-ray drive with the Xbox One.