Microsoft has announced that it is to update all Xbox 360 consoles to give them the ability to display at the high-definition 1080p resolution before the end of the year. The company has pledged to release a software update which will allow Xbox 360 consoles to output game and movie content in 1080p. The update will be released later this year. It should be noted, however, that the Xbox 360 does not have an HDMI output, meaning that it will not be possible to view HD DVDs in 1080p.

Microsoft has also announced launch information for an external HD DVD drive. The new drive will launch in Japan on November 17, and will retail for ¥19,800 ($170). It comes with its own remote control. Currently, there are no details about the pricing for a US launch, but a similar launch date in the US and a price of $199 is expected.

Microsoft is expected to exploit the shortage of the PS3 throughout Xmas period with different Xbox 360 systems along with their inexpensive HD DVD drive add-on.

In terms of games, we do not expect to see any games produced explicitly for 1080p resolution. The Xbox 360 will be able to upscale 720p content to 1080p, however, so users with fully loaded TVs can take advantage. As such, 1080p on the Xbox 360 isn't exactly earth shattering, but it is a nice bonus for a system that was never sold with the promise of a resolution upgrade.