X06: $199 360 HD-DVD drive coming in mid-November

Microsoft prices, dates its add-on for North America, UK, France, and Germany.

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The next-generation disc format wars between the Sony-backed Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD format will officially see a joint front when the console wars open this holiday season. Microsoft has announced that the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 will arrive in North America, UK, France, and Germany in mid-November, right around Sony's planned US launch of the Blu-ray-equipped PlayStation 3.

When it hits stores in North America, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player should retail for $199.99. Gamers in the UK can expect the player to run them £129.99 ($245), while those in France and Germany can expect to pay 199.99 euros ($254) for the hardware. All these prices have been called "estimated retail prices" by Microsoft, which noted that the actual retail price may vary.

A movie-playing machine with no movies to play wouldn't make much sense, so Microsoft is also throwing in a copy of Peter Jackson's King Kong on HD-DVD, and an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote, as well. That's the film version of the giant ape's adventure and not the Ubisoft game adaptation--Microsoft has previously said the HD-DVD will be used only for movies.

At last week's Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft announced its plans for the Japanese release of the HD-DVD add-on. It will be launched there on November 22 and will retail for 20,790 yen ($177), including tax.

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