Microsoft stealing Apple’s thunder with Blu-ray 360?

I, for one, don’t normally like to embellish rumors. The games industry is chock full of folks who like to say whatever comes to their mind and then try to pass it off as fact. That said, I’m about to go against my own words and feed the rumor mill just a little bit more. I’m doing this because the rumor in question is one that is bound to come true sooner or later. I’m talking of course about the Xbox 360 with built in Blu-ray capability.

This rumor has been circulating for months and months, pretty much since HD DVD fell like a lead balloon, but the big Microsoft has always stood firmly on the “That’s BS” pedestal. However, you have to keep in mind that this is the same company that completely denied the existence of the Elite model until many weeks after the information was leaked. A Blu-ray-capable 360 would seem inevitable, and from a marketing standpoint it would make sense to ensure the public is aware of this new SKU well in advance of the Christmas rush.

This is where the latest in the this line of rumors has taken us and it all might come to a climax tomorrow, exactly one hour before the Worldwide Developers Conference. The conference is Apple’s opportunity to get their hype training rolling on all of their new products and Microsoft is allegedly planning on stealing Apple’s thunder by announcing that the 360 will be getting Blu-ray compatablility, via press release, just an hour before the show is set to begin. This particular theory comes directly from Shacknews who claims to have a source on the inside and had formerly worked on the HD DVD unit for the 360 themselves.

If this is indeed Microsoft’s plan then I’d imagine they’re a little bit peeved about it being spoiled the night before it was set to take place. I feel like this rumor does warrant some consideration, however, in that a move like this seems right up Microsoft’s alley. Those who remember the PlayStation 3 European launch shenanigans will know exactly what I’m talking about.