In the first-ever HD DVD release exclusive to a videogame platform, Comedy Central and Microsoft are teaming up to bring a special 'South Park' episode in high-definition to new Xbox 360 buyers.
In the first of two Xbox 360 promos, Comedy Central will offer users of the Microsoft game console a free download of the 'South Park' episode "Good Times with Weapons." The episode, which originally aired in 2004, has now been retooled in high-definition, making it an HD-first for the long-running, potty-mouthed cult series.
The download will be followed by a second promo. Exclusive to retailer Best Buy, a free HD DVD of the same "Good Times with Weapons" episode will be given to anyone who buys an Xbox 360 and/or HD DVD add-on peripheral at its stores. The promo will run for only two weeks, from March 20 to April 3.
Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, who is also the parent company of Paramount Pictures. Though the studio is currently format agnostic in the high-def war, supporting both Blu-ray and HD DVD equally, Microsoft supports only HD DVD via its Xbox 360 console.
Currently, 'South Park' episodes and season sets remain unreleased on either next-gen format. Outside of this Xbox promo, Paramount has made no formal announcement of any plans to bring the show to either Blu-ray or HD DVD.
Episodes from 'South Park' seasons five through nine are currently available for download (in standard-def) via the Xbox Live network. They rank among the most popular downloads on the site, according to Comedy Central.
Though the idea of 'South Park' in high-resolution is an amusing one, we must admit that using the show -- whose animation style consists largely of construction paper cut-outs -- as a marketing tool for HD DVD seems somewhat odd. Of all the popular shows on Comedy Central that would most benefit from a high-def release, 'South Park' is probably at the bottom of the "wow factor" list, however huge its audience.
Still, we remain intrigued at the marketing possibilities of format-exclusive releases, especially those tied to videogame consoles. We can't wait to see if Sony retaliates with some Blu-ray retailer exclusives tied to sales of its PlayStation 3 rival. How about a couple of old 'Charlie's Angels' episodes in HD, huh, Sony?
Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops...