Dumbest. Move. Ever.

uber-observant reader oncnawan pointed me over to this article on ign: Next-Gen DVD Copy-Protection Debacle.

holy craptacular mistake, batman.

so, let’s see. what are we looking at here?

  • hdtv has a low installed base.
  • even in the face of hdtv fighting for adoption for decades.
  • blu-ray is stupid expensive compared to standard dvd.
  • games won’t need the extra space.
  • there is no pain point high definition dvds are solving for customers.
  • and now, sony is apparently hitting not only the niche-within-a-niche, but the niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche. brilliant!

so, now, not only do you need an hdtv to get any value out of that big, expensive blu-ray drive in the ps3, but you actually need an hdmi connection (actually and additional one aside from the one the 4 people using it have hooked into their digital cable box) to use it because of copy protection. the other 3 million hdtv owners using component video because they have no hdmi connection are out of luck.

so, you have to be a gamer, have an hdtv, want to play high definition dvds AND have hdmi connections. then, the $250 extra for the blu-ray drive is justified.

good god!

so, the early adopters — the people who are out on the street pimping this cool new technology to all of their friends and families — are so gonna be pissed.

smooth move, sony. piss off your best customers.

i knew the high definition dvd formats were going to be anchored down with some form of copy protection, but i was assuming that was just anti-ripping technology. not a retarded attempt at closing the analog hole.

sony is:

  1. alienating hardcore video enthusiasts with trying to close the analog hole.
  2. alienating hardcore video gamers by making them pay for a blu-ray drive they have no interest in — they just want to game.
  3. alienating the causal customer with a huge pricetag on the ps3 when compared to xbox 360 and nintendo revolution.

who the hell are they making this thing for?



there’s a helluva good discussion going on over where oncnawan originally pointed me to this article.


12 comments so far

  1. Darth Pixel on

    Copy-protection schemes are the same for Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

    And this debacle started with the introduction of HDCP…

    I am all in favor of distributing blame generously, but Sony cannot be the only recipient.

    I also happen to believe Sony is making a mistake by adding a Blu-ray drive to their console…unless they can do it affordably, in which case it would obviously add value to the console and force their main competitor to add yet another optional accessory to their product line.

  2. m3mnoch on

    yep, yep. i know it’s all about hdcp. and, i’m not saying that it’s all sony’s fault for a crappy format. and, i understand that hd-dvd has the same requirements.

    however, it is solely sony’s fault that they are including a blu-ray drive in the ps3. that’s what i’m railing against. i’d totally be down with the ps3 from a business perspective if they left out the blu-ray drive.

    those bullets are all reasons why it’s a mistake for sony. that, and when talking about high definition dvd in general, i’m not just picking on blu-ray. that’s why i say ‘high definition dvd’ instead of ‘blu-ray.’

    it’s their shoe-horning thing that just pisses me off.


  3. Oncnawan on

    It is an issue with both next gen DVD formats, but the HD-DVD issue has fewer ramifications, as Microsoft decided not to incorporate a next-gen drive in the 360.

    As far as I am concerned, all the AACS has done is gut the “advantage” that Blueray brought to the PS3. This is how it is going to go down.

    Game developers are going to have to choose between releasing a game on DVD-9 and Blueray.

    If developers choose DVD-9, then the PS3 looks an aweful lot like the 360, with a higher price tag.

    If developers choose the Blueray disk, they have three options for content protection:
    1. No content except through HDMI-with-HDCP output
    2. No HD content except through HDMI-with-HDCP output (downgrading 1080 to 540 if analog cables are used)
    3. No protection – content displays up to 1080

    Only a clueless dev would choose 1. Only a confused dev would choose 2. Developers would choose option 3 over DVD only if the game contains bloated code or excessive cutscenes, which puts us back at the point made in the above paragraph – this console looks like a more expensive version of the 360.

    Movies? No one knows what the studios are going to do, which makes the purchase of a PS3 for purposes of watching Blueray movies an uncertain thing. Uncertainty is a poor method of inspiring consumer confidence.

    Somewhere in Sony’s rush to make the PS3 future proof, they forgot to make it present proof.

  4. haveblue on

    m3mnoch, Oncnawan-

    Very interesting analysis/speculation on the PS3 as of late.

    I am assuming Sony has people on the inside bringing up these same points.

    Do you think it is possible that Sony leadership has gone crazy and is ignoring these people, or is it possible this is a type of corporate disinformation ploy to get Microsoft to think Sony doesn’t have their act together when they really do?

    I don’t have the business experience to know.

    It seems like at a time when Sony could be pouncing on some of Microsoft’s problems post launch, they appear to be stumbling around and playing into Microsoft’s hands.

  5. Darth Pixel on

    Don’t forget the choice of the media is more of a matter left to publishers than to game developers.

    As far as publishers are concerned, they care only about one thing: Avoiding piracy and maximizing their revenues.
    If the copy protection schemes offered by Blu-ray eliminate or significantly decrease piracy, you can bet they will release games on Blu-ray, even if they could fit on DVD 9.

    On the other hand, if Xbox 360 and PS 3 are equally successful or unsuccessful at thwarting piracy, Blu-ray will have to be justified using other applications.

  6. Oncnawan on

    Darth Pixel;

    Thanks for pointing out the publisher’s role in things. Though I am sure that the issue is raised during development due to size constraints, etc. Part of the problem with enabling any of Blueray’s security features is that those features (sending encrypted data through an HDMI cable) will disenfranchise everyone who has not bought an HDTV in the last two years. I would love to see some of Sony’s developers/publishers release games on Blueray with anti-piracy features armed, just to see the average Sony fanboy turn into a frothing maniac for being unable to get the legendary 1080p on his HDMI-less HDTV. If the feature is fully enabled, he will get no signal at all. That would be a sight to see.

    Have Blue,

    You raise an interesting question I have not the time to answer. I will get back to you on that in a couple of hours.

  7. Darth Pixel on

    “Though I am sure that the issue is raised during development due to size constraints, etc.”

    Either you contend size is not a factor (because DVD 9 is enough) or you don’t.
    You cannot invoke this argument in one case and not the other.

    Secondly, Sony would be insane not to cover people who only have component inputs. Therefore, I doubt they will miss that.
    HDMI and HDCP and other fancy copy protection schemes will certainly be use to protect HD movies.
    So, I bet you will be able to connect your PlayStation 3 to any TV with component inputs using the “included HDMI-to-component cable”.

  8. Oncnawan on


    Sony is not saying anything because they don’t have to. Sony fans will carry the banner forward better than any Sony PR release ever could (especially if they unmuzzle Ken Kutaragi, whose physical form will someday achieve 100% unification with the contents of his mind and he will become hyperbole incarnate.)

    Why is Sony so quiet about their system in the face of so much controversy? Do you recall the oft quoted adage, “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and leave no doubt?” Sony is not ready to launch. There is speculation to this effect, but until Sony announces its inability to launch in the spring, or maybe even the fall, it remains mere speculation. Any statements that indicate such unreadiness will be devoured by the media, particularly the internet media distribution mechanism of news sites and blogs. Blogs are of particular concern, as bloggers and commenters are willing and able to analyze a comment that is nothing but PR spin and, setting it in the proper background, actually make sense of what the PR is trying to cover up. Silence carries a lesser risk.

    Right now, all the speculation is that the PS3 will ship in the fall, at the earliest. (Actually, some here speculated that such would be the case last year, given certain logistical considerations and Sony’s lack of working software and hardware at critical points during the year.) However, this is just speculation. Until Sony actually fesses up to a fall/winter release, Fandogs will believe anything that they want to believe badly enough. (As an example, take the recent review of Oblivion by a gamer who does not focus his gaming on RPGs. He gave a balanced, but postive review of the game. The fandogs went wild on the forums. Threats of physical violence were coupled with denial of his ability to rate an RPG because he prefered other games, generally. The fandogs just could not believe that their treasured game was anything but nirvana.)

    The Sony fans will believe; they want to believe. (so do MS and Nintendo fans, but I that is not our point) They want to believe that the system will launch this spring. They want to believe that “teh cell” is more powerful, more flexible and more efficient than any other processor known to man, now or in the next decade. They want to believe that Blueray will actually have some sort of trancendent affect on gaming. They want to believe that tech specs that were finalized on paper nearly a year ago will somehow be light-years ahead of the 360, whose tech specs were finalized about the same time. They want to believe that all of this will happen for $399 (US), hardrive included. They want to believe it so bad, that Sony is best served by just letting them believe.

    I believe that Sony has great contempt for its customers. I also believe that they are justified in holding such contempt. Think of it as the interaction between Uwe Boll and his fans, if he had any. He would have to loathe them for exhibiting the poor taste requisite to enjoy his work. Now, given such contempt, do you really think that Sony would show enough respect to gamers to be forthcoming with information about your launch issues? No. The answer is no, especially so when you need the Sony fanbase to keep believing long enough to pick up an overpriced console for the sole purpose of expanding the userbase of Blueray, which is the real focus of the PS3.

  9. Oncnawan on

    Darth Pixel;

    I said that DVD-9 would be insufficient in the face of bloated code or excessive cutscenes. For games that are games and not movies disguised as games, DVD-9 is sufficient for at least a few years. However, given the option to fill how many gigabytes, 45?, with cutscenes and uncompressed textures and inefficient code, someone is going to do it. Besides, can’t you see Sony releasing an HD movie and a game on the same disk? Spiderman is a Sony movie, right? Given the amount of space on the disk, Sony could bundle the next Spiderman game with Spiderman3, but only on Blueray, only playable on the PS3. There is no telling what devilry they will come up with next.

    Go back and read my comment. For games, as games, DVD-9 should be sufficient.

    I agree that Sony would be foolish to release a console without the means for the tens of millions of PS2 owners that have SDTV sets to adopt it. The issue, however, is that the HD-DVD drive that Microsoft is supposed to make available as an add-on is for movies only. Sony’s next gen drive might not do movies for most of its audience. Given that most games won’t need the extra space, why include the Blueray drive?

    The truly salient point from a business perspective is that customers are left without a solid feature set. Are the spec sheets going to say “not guaranteed to play all Blueray movies without HDMI-with-HDCP”? Will some games be more expensive based on disk format? If copy protection is enable on games at some point, what does that mean for late adopters of HDTV?

    Oh, and Darth Pixel, I can invoke the same argument in one case and not the other, I just choose not to. I am feeling rather cheeky today, so excuse the smug tone to that last statement. But you get the point, right? I agree. One shouldn’t, but many do.

  10. haveblue on


    Thanks for the well thought reply.

    With all the quality comments here, who needs pretenious fluff like Edge magazine?

  11. jc on

    “so, you have to be a gamer, have an hdtv, want to play high definition dvds AND have hdmi connections. then, the $250 extra for the blu-ray drive is justified.”

    does that mean I gotta get a new job? Maybe Sony should offer career training course for PS3 owner-to-be’s.

  12. m3mnoch on

    well. according to sony, they want you to get a good job and work hard for your right to own a ps3.

    so. heh. yep. you and i both, man.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: