March 7, 2008

Rant: Sony, what next?

Sony has won. Toshiba has given up and Blu-ray has emerged victorious. Now what? Well, it's a step in the right direction for Sony... I guess. Now that their HD disk format has prevailed, Sony has eliminated competition and consumers are forced to buy Blu-ray if they want HD movies. The first thing Sony needs to do now is lower the cost of their Blu-ray players. They're still outrageously expensive, though they'll come down in price eventually. However, Blu-ray, in its current state, is only appealing to those who absolutely need an HD player. The rest of us will continue to buy standard DVDs until they go out of production or the price of Blu-ray players lowers significantly.

Many may think this is a blow to Microsoft. Not so. For one, no body really bought the add on HD DVD player for the 360. Those who have an HD DVD playing computers probably didn't pay extra for it. Also, a lot of people forget that just because Microsoft supported HD DVD they do not produce the disks or their players. Microsoft has said that they've moved on and that they'll support Blu-ray. This benefits both companies. If Microsoft were to allow a Blu-ray add-on for the 360, sales would skyrocket. Even more people would buy Xboxes and less PS3s because the Xbox is still cheaper. There would be even less of a reason to buy a PS3. Sony, however, would benefit as well because the revenue of the Blu-ray player would go to Sony. That ends up being a weird situation for Sony because it both benefits and hurts them. All this is, of course, hypothetical because no one has made any plans to support Blu-ray on the Xbox. Microsoft was simply stating that they're negotiating with Sony to include Blu-ray players in PCs. In any case, the real looser here is Toshiba.

So where does that leave Sony? It leaves them right where they're at. Though Sony has won the next gen disk format war, they've only achieved victory over Toshiba. As far as games go, they're still in trouble. If Sony's games division wants to survive to see the PS4, then they need to lower cost and increase the number of AAA exclusive games. Right now, the Xbox is still cheaper and still has better exclusives. Games like MGS4, releasing this June, and Resistance 2 this November may change things, but I doubt it. I think Sony is slowly loosing their casual gamers who are opting for the cheaper Xbox. Sony will always have its fanboys, but I don't think that'll be enough to keep the PS3 afloat if Sony doesn't start to rethink things fast.

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