Microsoft will offer a HD-DVD drive for its Xbox360 console priced at £199 this Christmas according to industry website GamesIndustry.biz.
Although not officially confirmed as yet, according to the industry website, Microsoft is currently planning to price the standalone HD-DVD drive at £199 (293 euro), and to package it with two HD-DVD movies.
Last month a senior program manager at Microsoft, Kevin Collins, said "that the drive would be one of the least expensive HD-DVD players available". The price, if correct will make it very affordable compared to Toshiba's standalone players, which announced at IFA 2006, had a price tag twice the price.
The website's sources also suggested that "Microsoft will bundle the Premium console and next-generation movie player together for under £400 (589 euro) – and that the price could even be as low as £375 (552 euros)".
A Microsoft spokesperson told Pocket-lint in August, "Since launching Xbox we have retained a games first emphasis, but we also offer consumers the ability to build on our powerful platform, such as in combination with a Windows Media Center Edition PC".
"We feel that offering the drive externally is the best way to give consumers the ultimate choice to create their own high definition experience."
The move would mean that Microsoft could offer gamers and movie fans HD content 4 months ahead of the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 in the UK.
Earlier this week, the Sony said that due to production issues the launch of the console would have to be delayed in the UK from its planned launch in November to a new launch date sometime in March.
Microsoft is likely try and capitalise on the delay with the new player. Last month Microsoft also confirmed to Pocket-lint that it "has no plans to release the Xbox360 with an internal HD-DVD drive".
We will keep you posted.