Console Media Play-by-Play Rundown

from the console war front.


  • expensive hi definintion optical drive – check.
  • cheap standard definition optical drive – check.
  • online hi definition distribution – check.


  • expensive hi definintion optical drive – check.
  • cheap standard definition optical drive – nope.
  • online hi definition distribution – nope.

appologies for beating a dead horse with this, but, with ces just finished up, it’s where my mind is. we’re talking about being ready for the future of movie playback here.

a media format war means the consumer isn’t buying until it gets figured out. all of those folks who invested tons of money in their betamax video collection are telling us that. history dictates it. microsoft has (accidentally, i’m sure) planned brilliantly by offering hd movies on the xbox 360 as a relatively inexpensive add on. (relative to blu-ray prices, that is) it won’t interfere with the channel and the basic roll out of hd dvd. price points all match up. again, history tells us that market forces (aka price) dictate the winners of format wars. their cheap (again, relative to the ps3’s costs) console is well positioned and solidly planned for manufacturing.

the hi definition dvd community pretty much dropped a bomb on the world last week with their relative prices.

my media format prediction:
despite hd dvd being a less capable format, it will become the standard. purely because it’s substantially cheaper.

aside from that, microsoft seems like they are ready no matter what happens. if, by some miracle, blu-ray ends up winning the format war, microsoft can just add it as a peripheral. if online hd distribution takes off, microsoft is ready with their unified service called xbox live.

now, let’s look as sony.

if hd dvd takes off as the dominant format, sony’s playstation 3 will only be used to play games or standard definition movies. if online distribution takes off, sony has no unified service. they don’t even have any expertise to develop one. (as opposed to microsoft being the largest software maker in the world) all they have is an expensive, relatively unused (even by game developers) albatross of a drive destroying their stock price.

if you think microsoft is taking a huge loss on their hardware, just wait until sony’s numbers come out. it will be an unrecoverable mess for them. stringer’s pride is getting in the way of the shareholders’ interests.

we all know what happens next.



8 comments so far

  1. deth on

    Hey M3mnoch- i have been visiting joystiq for a few months and have noticed that your comments tend to be the most thought provoking and intelligent. Thank you for raising the bar over there. The few essays i have read here have solidified my thoughts of you. keep up the good work!


  2. m3mnoch on

    hey. thanks a heap, man. i really appreciate that. i’m coming off of my bitter binge with them, so hopefully, my comments’ll be coming across more insightful and less inciteful in the future.

    again. thanks for your kind words.


  3. MacAttack on

    Hey keep up the good work, as an econ grad I agree with everything you have pointed out. I actually had made a post saying basically similar ideas on joystiq sometime back but I got flamed on ofcourse. Atleast someone has some good solid arguments!

  4. m3mnoch on

    thanks a bunch. feel free to link or quote anything you read here. especially if you think it will help you to not get flamed!


  5. Anonymouse on


    cheap standard definition optical drive – nope

    But the expensive hi definintion optical drive will to be able to play media designed for the cheap standard definition optical drive.

  6. m3mnoch on


    not saying the ability to play the media. talking about cost vs. features. microsoft, for putting in the cheap optical drive and making the really expensive one an add-on, has executed a brilliant, price-driven move. why put the expensive one in there when a standard dvd-9 drive will work?

    especially given the expected adoption rate of high def dvd’s over the next 5 years. even the most optimistic analysts think it won’t amount to more than a little over squat.


  7. Anonymouse on

    I think with Microsoft it was more like they wanted to get the console out near Christmas, and HD-DVD wasn’t ready so they didn’t include it. Then everyone starts shouting about HD-DVD, so they announce they’re releasing an add-on player, but aren’t sure whether it’ll be used for games.

  8. m3mnoch on

    it won’t be used for games. it doesn’t need to be used for games. it’s just for the >1% of the population who is interested and wants the capability to play a high definition dvd.


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