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A senior Microsoft executive has claimed that Blu-ray will be a ‘passed over’ format, as people make the leap straight from DVDs to digital movie downloads.

Blu-ray Disc

People are making the leap from ordinary DVDs to digital downloads, says a senior Microsoft executive, leaving Blu-ray’s future uncertain

Stephen McGill, director of Microsoft’s Xbox and entertainment division in the UK, said that consumers don’t need Blu-ray.

In an interview with fan site Xbox360Achievements, McGill said that adding a Blu-ray drive to the Xbox 360 would not help to extend the games console’s shelf life.

“I think people may have spoken about that originally, but that’s long gone,” he said. “Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full high-definition 1080p Blu-ray streaming instantly [through the Xbox 360], no download, no delay.

“So who needs Blu-ray?”

Microsoft famously backed rival high-definition disc format HD-DVD. The company sold an optional HD-DVD drive that could be connected to the Xbox 360 so that it could double as a DVD player. Sony’s rival console, the PlayStation 3, features an integrated Blu-ray player.

However, many experts believe there is still a place for high-definition DVDs, particularly as few homes have the fast, stable internet connections needed for seamless, high-quality movie streaming.

Sales of Blu-ray discs in the UK have grown by 50 per cent in the last year alone, with around 15.6 million of these high-definition DVDs sold to date. The British Video Association estimates that Blu-ray sales account for around 20 per cent of any given title’s total sales amount.

James Cameron’s sci-fi epic, Avatar, recently broke the British record for highest first-day Blu-ray sales, with fans snapping up almost a quarter of a million copies on the day of launch, more than previous record-holder The Dark Knight sold in its first week.

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