Ballmer confirms Xbox 360 Blu-ray accessory?

One of the ongoing frustrations for Xbox 360 owners is the absence of a Blu-ray accessory; they keep pestering Microsoft for one, and Microsoft keep rolling out the same "we have no plans" excuses.  Now, finally, the company appears to be changing its tune, though it takes some between-the-lines reading of outspoken CEO Steve Ballmer in order to fathom it.  Talking to Gizmodo, Ballmer told interviewer Wilson Rothman that "you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories".

"Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray [into the Xbox 360] – you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories" Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Being the skeptical sort, Rothman followed up with Microsoft PR to get clarification on Ballmer's comments.  They pretty much told him that they have nothing to announce about physical Blu-ray drives, referring instead to their streaming plans:

"Our immediate solution for Blu-ray-quality video on an Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment." Microsoft PR

That's enough for Gizmodo to suggest that an add-on Blu-ray drive might be on the cards at some point down the line, similar in fact to Microsoft's ill-fated HD-DVD drive for the 360.  Alternatively, it could mean that Microsoft will allow third-party manufacturers to develop their own Blu-ray accessories.