Microsoft will release the HD DVD upgrade for its Xbox 360 console on November 17, the release date of the PlayStation 3. The drive will be available for about $170.
The announcement, made at the Tokyo Game Show 2006, came as part of a strengthened marketing initiative for the Xbox 360 in a time when Sony and Nintendo are gearing up for the release of their next-gen game consoles. The price of the HD DVD drive, ¥19,800 or about $168, is well below previous estimates and increases the pricing pressure on Sony.
According to Microsoft, the new drive is 1080p capable, which puts the high-end and hard drive-equipped (20 GB) Xbox 360 in direct competition with the HDMI, 1080p capable PS3. However, the Xbox 360 system will be offered in a market dominated by the Playstation for around $480, while the comparable PS3 system with a 60 GB drive will retail for about $600. Pricing and availability for the HD DVD drive in the US have not been announced.