SCEA critiques 360 HD-DVD

Sony's US publicity chief, Dave Karraker, calls external drive for Microsoft's next-gen console "unfortunate," says 360's 1080p resolution not "full HD."

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Earlier this week at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft took the wraps off its external HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. The add-on, which will cost 20,790 yen (about $177) when it starts selling in Japan on November 22, will play movies on the next-generation video format. HD-DVDs can hold up to 30GB of data on a dual-layered disc. However, Xbox 360 games will still only be available on standard DVDs, which can hold around 9GB on a dual-layered disc.

Both models of the PlayStation 3 come equipped with internal drives that play Blu-ray Discs, the HD-DVD rival that can hold 50GB on a dual-layered disc. Unsurprisingly, this contrast was seized upon by Dave Karraker, the new senior director of corporate communications for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

In a rebuttal issued late last night, Karraker criticized Microsoft's decision to make the 360 drive optional. "It's unfortunate that Microsoft's external HD-DVD drive will not enhance the experience at all for the gamer," he said. "Sony realizes that to truly take gaming into the next generation requires a larger data format for both games and movies. PS3 uses the Blu-ray format for gaming, giving developers 50GB of high-definition storage on a single disc, while Microsoft's 9GB DVD gaming format is an obstacle for storing HD content."

Karraker also took a potshot at Microsoft's recent announcement that the 360 would support 1080p video resolution. "Microsoft's announced HD games patch is really just a compatibility feature," charged the executive. "Upscaling lower-resolution content does not make it full HD (1080p), something that PS3 can do out of the box."

While the software update for the Xbox 360 will upscale existing games to 1080p, a Microsoft rep told GameSpot earlier this week that it will also be able to handle content made specifically for 1080p, if developers choose to create it. However, Microsoft today declined to comment on Karraker's statements, which are the latest salvo in a war of words between the big three next-gen console makers.

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