Sony's Dilemma

Betamax and beyond

Sony's Dilemma

Postby Theta on Tue May 09, 2006 7:34 pm

So, we have official stats on the PS3 (it's here: http://collider.com/videogames/news/article.asp?aid=2389&tcid=5). I shall spare you any ranting about said game system and just point out a pretty crucial statistic about the system as a home theater device:

The "Deluxe" system will have an HDMI connector. The "Basic" version will not.

Pair this with the scarcity of the system (there will be, at launch, two million available worldwide with two more waves of two million by March 31st, and half of these are, I believe, the Deluxe) and well...huh?

The scarcity is undeniably a good thing for the PS3. It's what sold the PS2 in such enormous numbers, although I question the intelligence of the strategy this time around (either they are intentionally creating scarcity to promote demand or they're trying to cover up the fact that making these systems is excruciatingly slow: either way, not good.)


But it's undeniably a bad thing for Blu-Ray, a very, VERY bad thing. The entire point was the PS3 was supposed to be the really cheap Blu-Ray player, the vehicle to get the format into everyone's houses before HD-DVD could get in there.

After all, there IS a $500 HD-DVD player with no scarcity issues. The response of the Blu-Ray camp has been pretty much to pretend said player doesn't exist (I'm particularly amused when they said Toshiba had to be losing money on it and the price HAS to go up, considering assembling a PS3 costs $900), but the problem is...it kinda does. It's buggy (about half the players seem to have issues), it's certainly not an impulse buy, but there it is, and it's $100 cheaper and widely available.

Now Sony is saying that not only will the cheap player not hit the market until November, but only half of them will actually be capable of playing back the discs at the quality intended (Sony's DRM downconverts if you use the composite connection), and the other half will have no hope of EVER being a Blu-Ray player since you can't exactly cheaply wire an HDMI connection onto the thing.

I'm not saying this will kill Blu-Ray as a format (although the disadvantages it starts with won't help), but it will CERTAINLY cause problems.
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Postby sleepflower on Tue May 09, 2006 8:04 pm

According to the BBC website, Sony has said the futher 2 Million units would be before the end of the year, which would mean 4 million worldwide before the end of the year, then another 2m by march. To me that is a HUGE number of players of a new format.

In comparison, the xbox 360 has still yet to hit the 4 million mark, being just over 3m. If Sony manage that in around 6 weeks, thats one hell of a lot of sales.

The differtence with Toshibas player is that if it loses money, it cannot regain them with licensing, whereas that has been the profit model of the other two playstations, which succeeded extremely well.

The article is quite poor, as it doesn't know hwere it stands, apart from to Sony bash. It makes out as if there won't be enough to buy, then goes on to say no one is going to want to buy it. So which is it? Can't be a shortage is no one is buying them.

It is going to be expensive, but might just be worth it. The fact it has a Blu Ray drive still on the lower hand may be handy still, as if you end up with it as a second player, you can still watch all the new movies you will buy on Blu Ray. It may not have HDMI, but what has it got? Is it just composite or has it got component? VGA Connector? Makes a lot of difference, HD has many ways.
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Postby Theta on Tue May 09, 2006 8:35 pm

Where are you getting the XBox 360 numbers? I'm just curious, I haven't heard a damn thing about sales.

The PS3 will undeniably be popular. It's the preferred gaming system right now. That's not the point. Far more people watch DVDs than play games, and Sony is, either due to manufacturing issues or marketing strategy, limiting the number of cheap players on the market. They are intentionally making low-priced Blu-Ray players unavailable, in a market that is hardly frothing at the mouth for a new format. That does not strike me as good for the format.
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Tue May 09, 2006 8:58 pm

i think i'll stick with the pc & buy the drives when they come out , better in the lnog haul
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Postby TheBaxter on Tue May 09, 2006 9:14 pm

i want blu-ray to succeed, it's a better format than hd-dvd, but unfortunately sony is gonna screw it up worse than they did beta. apparently sony has managed to grow a dick long enough to fuck themselves in the ass, as they do it to repeatedly to themselves.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Tue May 09, 2006 9:44 pm

I think the format will not succeed as the home movie format but will succeed as a computer storage medium.
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Tue May 09, 2006 10:23 pm

Would be nice to see a whole trilogy on one blu-ray disk though.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Wed May 10, 2006 1:28 am

For a $500 difference I think I can go through the arduous trouble of changing discs.
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Postby Theta on Wed May 10, 2006 7:46 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:I think the format will not succeed as the home movie format but will succeed as a computer storage medium.


Actually, Sony has pretty much destroyed that chance. They already had a hard case to make to manufacturers of blank media (essentially it was "Throw out all of the equipment you made an expensive investment in...and buy even more expensive equipment from us!") and they ruined that by acting like HD-DVD didn't exist and trying to bully people. It certainly didn't help that they pissed Microsoft off no end for various reasons.

As a Mac user, I might see that happen (Apple committed to Blu-Ray, a surprise considering how Sony has been throwing a hissy fit over DRM), but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a combo Blu-Ray/HD-DVD drive for Mac, or Apple not really supporting it when push comes to shove.
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Postby sleepflower on Wed May 10, 2006 8:39 pm

If there is going to be a combo drive, it won't be limited to a mac. Macs are one of the worst for formats, considering the problems with DVD+R.

Where is the evidence of bullying?

And as for sony messing up with beta, well, thwy didn't. They made a superior product that was too large.

I really do doubt they are deliberately halting cheap players. Do you remember how expensive DVD players were when they first came out? Even when popular they were £200 for a basic model for a long time.

I have hardly seen much of HD-DVD either. Only one computer drive is all I have seen, and that was extremely expensive.

Sony do always try and go for quality rather than ease of manufacture. Always have (Atrac, beta) so it wasn't really a surprise they went a different route than using existing technology. As apart from cost of manufacture, Blu-Ray does have a better spec.

My numbers for the xbox were from the BBC news website.

I get the feeling Blu Ray will be the winner in Movies and HD-DVD will win over people with computers for recordable media.
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