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Rumor: Blu-ray Licensing May Delay Next Xbox

A rumor from MondoXbox has surfaced claiming that Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Infinity (720, Fusion etc) may be delayed over licensing issues with Blu-ray. Originally the console was expected to arrive during the 2013 holiday season, but this latest report suggests that Microsoft may miss this lucrative window, and instead launch the highly-anticipated console in the first half of 2014.

The news stems from a large commercial chain in Italy who is preparing to launch the PlayStation 4 at the end of the year. This company isn't expecting to see the Xbox Infinity because Microsoft is currently having issues landing a Blu-ray license. Why? Because Sony supposedly created a window of exclusivity in terms of consoles when the Blue-ray standard was established.

So far it's unknown whether this roadblock is strictly related to Europe for Microsoft, or on a global scale. It's also unknown if the Xbox Infinity will actually have a Blu-ray drive, as there has been talk that Microsoft may rely on a proprietary format just as Nintendo did with the Wii U. Taking a proprietary route could reduce the number of pirated games, but not eliminate piracy altogether.

News of a Blu-ray snafu arrive after reports surfaced that the "Durango" console will be delayed due to Microsoft's internal software pipeline being at least six months behind schedule. Sources told Kotaku that Microsoft is not where it wants to be at this point in the pre-launch development schedule. The company has reportedly even cancelled several internal projects because they did not turn out quite as the company had expected.

An industry insider also told Kotaku that Microsoft is aggressively trying to land exclusive games for Xbox Infinity, as Microsoft's internal development team is outnumbered by those at Sony and Nintendo. The company also wants exclusives due to "apparent recent stumbles" and internal "slowdowns". That said, Microsoft may be delaying the Xbox Infinity so it doesn't follow Nintendo and the poor sales the Japanese company has seen since the beginning of the year.

News of the Xbox Infinity delay have persisted for a while. SemiAccurate said back in September 2012 that a delay into 2014 was likely because production on the console's chips were yielding low rates. The report stated that Microsoft seemed to be dual or triple sourcing the parts in hopes that the "elves" at one foundry will fix things ahead of the rest. Even gaming research analyst Michael Pachter said a 2014 launch would make more sense so that hardcore "Xbots" wouldn't have to compete with moms buying presents during the holiday season.

Whatever the outcome, Microsoft is slated to reveal "a new generation" on May 21. The company could take the Nintendo route and showcase a prototype in 2013 and release the final version in the second half of 2014. That's all speculation, of course, so take it all with a big huge grain of salt.