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Blu-ray’s “Inevitable Win”: Will It Impact Games?

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As you may have heard by now, Blu-ray scored a huge win recently – or perhaps a series of large wins, to be more exact – that may just have ended the next-generation format wars between it and HD-DVD.

The question is, though… does it matter to us in the console world? A large part of the debate between Microsoft and Sony was over this format war, with Microsoft on the HD-DVD side and Sony firmly in the Blu-ray camp, while Nintendo sat by and let them duke it out. So this obviously has some kind of impact… but what kind?

The answer depends on the company. Let's break it down along those lines:

Nintendo – Let's start with the neutral party in this. Obviously, this has no impact on Nintendo or the Wii right now, because people aren't thinking of picking up a Wii to play DVDs on. But the impact here will obviously be in the next Nintendo console, which may very likely have a Blu-ray player on board as a result. Part of that will probably depend on how much Blu-ray player technology costs – remember, Nintendo loves using cheaper technology if it's available to cut costs – and if they get the Blu-ray Disc Association's blessing. Nintendo ally Panasonic is a member of the group, as is a company that it often gets compared to in Apple. It wouldn't be surprising if Nintendo jumps into the association by the end of this generation.

Microsoft – Obviously, here's your loser in this. Microsoft is invested in HD-DVD and has built an HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360. On top of that, they're still committing themselves to HD-DVD, dispelling earlier rumors that they might consider making Blu-ray players for the 360. However, their hand may eventually be forced, and in a worst case scenario, they're going to have to eat a huge write-off for those unsold HD-DVD players, plus putting in time and money to develop a Blu-ray player of their own for the 360.

Sony – And here are your big winners. Not only does their chosen format seemingly win out, but the PS3 itself is now the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market, putting itself in a position like the PS2 was when it was the cheapest DVD player on the market. While I don't expect sales to turn out quite as well, the PS3 will be a steal for anyone who wants a Blu-ray player. The big question here is convincing the public that they need Blu-ray instead of DVD – remember that when the PS2 came out, DVD was already a popular and viable format. Blu-ray isn't there yet.

As for the question of whether Sony, a member of the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association, would even let Nintendo and Microsoft use that technology… they'd be idiots not to. There's a ton of money to be made from licensing out Blu-ray technology to those companies for every single game and console they make. There are already rivals in the Blu-ray Disc Association, too. On the board alone, you'll find Dell, Apple, and Hewlett-Packard, three companies in direct competition with each other in the consumer PC market. Plus, there's always the smug sense of satisfaction that Sony executives will get from their rivals coming to them to use a format they had a large hand in developing.

So there you go. In the end, this won't kill anyone, but it'll probably mean that everyone goes Blu-ray next generation. It's a win for Sony, a monetary loss for Microsoft, and Nintendo's still doing its own thing. There will certainly be an impact. Just don't expect this to be like discs replacing cartridges.

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About Brian Szabelski

  • Giterdone

    I agree 100%

  • Justin

    Your analysis is right on. Sony has put themselves in a good position for the future, that is if cable TV, satellite TV and online gaming don’t go 1080P in the next few years.

  • KIDD

    This article still doesn’t tell me how BLU-RAY or HD/DVD will affect gamers.. all that it tells me is what the three companies might do in the future for DVD movies NOT gaming.

    Thanks

  • Strum

    This might come across as MS or Nintendo fanboy but it’s not. I’m more of a business fanboy.

    First the article doesn’t match the title.

    Second, I’m not sure how this impacts MS or Nintendo in any way. MS and Nintendo can still use the current format. MS is using DVD and WII is doing their thing.

    Going forward, the next gen of MS consoles and use live to download games if needed. They can also stick with DVDs.

    MS uses live to download movies and TV shows and the games all fit on a DVD. So what’s the big reason to get a BR? I don’t see why MS or Nintendo will be forced to use BR.

    It’s a proprietary format and media. There are no 3rd party services that will burn BR media except one someplace in Asia. (Yeah like any vendor will trust them to keep their IP safe).

    Anyone that supports BR is just a PS3/Sony Fanboy. If you actually look at all the reasons to not support BR, from a consumer point of view, everyone would be buying HD.

  • yeahright

    Strum – you where doing so well until the last two sentences. Then you convinced me you don’t know what you talk about and are a MS fanboy.

    First – Blu-ray is not a proprietary format – you can buy a burner yourself, and there are lots of replication facilities all over the world for single layer BD – many are not coming online for dual layer. One right in Washington near me.

    Second – Anyone that supports BR is just a Sony fanboy? That’s just plain wrong. BR has many advantages over the other format which is dead now. I have a large TV and I want Hi-Def media. BR has the best video and audio capability – and the data read is much faster than HD DVD. You seem to be the Anti-Sony fanboy… am I right?

  • vicforall

    You guys are forgetting one more point. The PS3 has not done well, primarily, because of its price. Sony will be able, because of the large licensing fees, to float that revenue over to the PS3 and help shave off a signficant amount of cost. If the hd war dies soon, Sony will be able to produce a cheaper PS3 by artifically deflating the price. In the near future, there is a definite possibility that a PS3 could be sold for under $250. We shouldn’t forget that Sony got rid of their insurance division in order to build up their coffers to deflect the pain that occured when they decreased the cost of the PS3.

    It is my belief that Sony executives actually planned this. The PS3 was used as a Trojan Horse for the purpose of capturing the hd disc market. This will give them access to the huge licensing fees. These fees would then be pumped into the PS3 so that it could recover the market share the PS2 gave up to the WII.

    What do you guys think?

  • Mr NE

    Why would anyone want these players? They are just clutter, and a waste of space. Download the movie in HD. As cheap as hard drives are anymore, you can easily store HD movies in any format you like on a hard drive and keep your shelves open for more important things.

    As for all the video game units, there’s a little thing called gameplay that they seemed to have forgotten about. Aside from the quick novelty of the Wii games, the games really haven’t been that good on any of the systems. Pretty much rehashed the same old things from the old systems with slightly better graphics. Nothing worth spending over $150 for a system, or over $30 for the game…

  • ta-ta

    Download the movies in HD? We have a Microsoft fan! Not everyone wants to download movies. I am one of many who will always want a hard copy that I own. What you prefer, is not always what the entire public wishes for.

  • http://www.My360.com.au Gaetano

    What justification do you have on your comment that it is “obvious” that Nintendo will incorporate Blu-Ray into their next console? Nintendo have said on numerous occassion’s that their consoles are for gaming not watching movies, hence why the GC and Wii don’t have DVD playback. It doesn’t need it, and I think to say that Nintendo’s new console will have Blu-Ray and/or DVD is unsubstantial especially based on its last two consoles.