We've stopped counting the number of rumors suggesting Blu-ray hardware would somehow integrate with the Xbox 360 gaming console, whether as a built-in drive in a revised edition, or as an add-on accessory. The details would vary, but all the rumors shared one thing in common: They were all bogus. So why are we paying it any attention now? Because this time, the rumor's coming straight from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
During a video interview with Gizmodo, Ballmer spent a couple minutes talking candidly about the Xbox 360 and project Natal, but he appeared to be caught off guard when asked if Microsoft would adopt Blu-ray in a bid to take over the home theater.
"Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there," Ballmer began as he wiped his eye. "You'll be able to get Blu-ray drives, and Blu-ray drives as accessories."
Does this mean a Blu-ray add-on is in the works, or did Ballmer simply not word his answer carefully enough? We don't know, but when Gizmodo pinged Xbox spokespeople about Ballmer's answer, more fuel to the speculative fire was added.
"Our immediate solution for Blu-ray quality video on the Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment."
In the past, Microsoft made it a point to quickly squash Blu-ray rumors, but that isn't the case this time around. Draw your own conclusion on what that could mean.