Sources have speculated that Microsoft's new Xbox console may feature Blu-Ray support for game discs, but may not include movie playback thanks to Xbox LIVE's content streaming.
Gamers have been speculating on how the inclusion of Blu-Ray support will benefit Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console for years now, arguing both the pros and the cons for quite some time. Naturally, these arguments have escalated into rumors, many of which have spread like wildfire as the Xbox 720's official unveiling draws nearer.
This particular rumor has taken new shape, however, and reveals that the Xbox 720 may in fact include Blu-Ray support.
But not for movies: only for games.
Sources say that based on Microsoft's current offering with content streaming via Xbox LIVE, the Xbox 720 may feature Blu-Ray drives for games but will block movie playback. This meshes in with Microsoft's business plan already set into place with Xbox LIVE's content streaming, which offers a multitude of movies and television apps.
Xbox LIVE generates a reliable and steady stream of annual revenue for Microsoft via subscriptions and digital purchases, and sources say that this is the justification for not including support for Blu-Ray movie playback. Rather than being able to watch Blu-Ray movies, gamers can purchase and stream premium digital content via Xbox LIVE. However, this inconvenience will most likely make consumers think twice about the console in terms of all-around entertainment.
The advantage of Blu-Ray discs is clear in terms of storage space, and will no doubt solve the current storage problems faced by the Xbox 360 today, making gameplay more convenient for gamers. In terms of entertainment, though, blocking Blu-Ray discs would be a deterrent to many consumers who expected that Microsoft's next-gen console would offer total high-def movie playback.
The rumor hasn't been officially confirmed and still remains speculation, but if it's true, I can foresee many aggravated gamers who will turn to Sony's new PlayStation console for this reason.
In any case, all the rumors will be put to rest during E3 in June where Microsoft is expected to reveal the next Xbox console.