As Bill Gates was proclaiming the virtues of HD-DVD at his CES keynote speech in Las Vegas, it seems his employees have different ideas.

Microsoft's Peter Moore, head of the company's Interactive Entertainment Division, has been talking to Japanese-language website ITmedia suggesting that you may be able to get a Blu-ray disc drive for the Xbox360 by the end of the year.

The move should consumers prefer that next-generation optical disc format over HD-DVD will mean that Microsoft although openly proclaiming the virtues of HD-DVD isn't so sure internally.

In his keynote speech last week, Bill Gates announced a bolt-on HD-DVD drive for the Xbox360 console to allow gamers to benefit from hi-def movies. The move to an external drive rather than insisting an internal one leaves the company plenty of room for manoeuvre to offer both drive formats should gamers and publishers need it.

Either way, we can only see the move benefiting Microsoft. The move to moot support for both formats means it won't be stuck with a dead format drive in 12 months time if one of the formats founders.

It will also mean that gamers will be able to take advantage of Blu-ray on both next generation consoles as Sony has already confirmed that its newest console - the PS3 - will include an integrated Blu-ray drive as standard.