Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why the obsession with Xbox 360 + Blu-ray

No time for reference links, but any of you should know what I'm talking about.

The media's obsession with Blu-ray is profound. Yes, the PS3 has it. Yes, it won the HD format war. No, the Xbox 360 doesn't have it, but it could.

My question is: why would you want to jack the 360's price up for the sake of Blu-ray? Is it really that important? Is the assumption that games will make use of Blu-ray's extra storage? Or are consoles the new movie devices of the generation?

Microsoft would have to be in a different universe than the proverbial clue to start using a non-DVD disc for games. They are committed to DVD, and regardless of what the attention-whoring media says, Blu-ray isn't really needed. When it comes down to it, even games on Blu-ray aren't optimized yet and compression is good enough not to need the space. By the time they are, we'll be on Xbox 720. So rather than alienate customers, they best stick to the 360 standard for games.

As for movies, Blu-ray seems like 1024kbps bit rate for mp3's; ridiculous and unnecessary. Does it look better? Sure. But it certainly didn't have me or my friends and family jumping out of their seats, asking where they could get a BD player. I made sure to point out that what we were watching was in 1080p and "Full HD". Needless to say, even with the 1080p TV already purchased, they weren't jumping on the band wagon. $40 movies are a hard sell when $10 up-scalable (and comparable) DVD's are readily available.

My PS3, which is really a glorified Blu-ray player that spends most of its uptime updating, is the Blu-ray player of choice. Not because it's a good player, but because it's one of the few updatable ones. After a year of owning the PS3, I've yet to see any reason why Blu-ray was integral. Sony's precious Resistance was mediocre for the experienced, and the movies proved to be a poor value.

The videophile zealots will quickly throw the life preserver comments in, but they don't represent the common consumer. Microsoft has no reason to jump on Blu-ray right now. BD movies are selling, but not at a rate to be concerned with. They are near the magical price point, and going BD drives would destroy that opportunity.

Media, give it up. We don't need Blu-ray right now. Neither does Microsoft.


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