In the least surprising news of the week so far, Microsoft has announced that it is to stop manufacturing HD DVD players for the Xbox 360.

Presumably this ‘no-brainer’ decision was taken due to the killer combination of poor attach rates and a now-dead high definition home cinema format.

Here’s the statement just in from Microsoft, outlining its reasons for dropping the 360 add-on:

“As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD.  Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market. 

“As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.  HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.”

Microsoft to provide 'whatever the market demands'

Jon Hicks, editor of Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine told us earlier today that he expects Microsoft to provide "whatever the market demands". Though he also reminded us of Bill Gates’ comments from back in 2005 that the HD DVD and Blu-ray format war would be the last format war on physical media.

“Microsoft execs are on record as saying that they will provide ‘whatever the market demands’ but in the short term I would expect the company to focus on Xbox Live Video Marketplace,” Hicks told TechRadar today.