Sunday, February 24, 2008

How Sony got slapped by Micro$oft... and Nintendo... all for Blu-Ray

Balmer gloats and drinks the Champagne of sweet victory...

"Ohhhh, we so sowwy abowt PS3" Chairman apologizes for PS3 recalls...

I can’t believe the war is finally over.  Sony wins!!!  Blu-Ray is the new heavyweight CHAMPEEEEN of the Wooooorrrrrrrrlllllllldddddd.

WRONG!!!!!

You know who won this fight?   really?  MICROSOFT!!!

And everyone who bought a Blu-Ray disk, player or sticker helped them do it.  The best part is, they don’t even realize how they were duped, manipulated and used so that MS could pump up the XBox 360 and demolish the PS3.  Sorry, legion of  Sony fans.  Even as you bought your Blu-Ray PS3s you were lining the coffers of Micro$oft.  Well done!

Lets forget the fact that the format of HD-DVD was better.  Blu-Ray has ALOT going for it, and it won the war because it was the better technology.  Since the release of the two specs, the only thing HD-DVD had going for it was it’s cheaper format and easier structure.  In every other major category, Blu-Ray kicked it’s ass.  So why did it take over 2 years of constant fighting to bury HD-DVD?

Well, set your way back machine to when both companies were announcing the new 3G video game machines.... Xbox 360 and PS3.  MS knew it needed to do something incredible to make a dent in Sony’s market domination with the PS2.  Then Sony offered them the greatest gift the business world has ever seen.  They trumpeted how the PS3 would have and be a Blu-Ray player.  Instantly, Balmer and Gates were hugging and crying in their champagne brunch!

They knew they would go with the abortive format from Philips called HD-DVD.  They knew they could leverage a format war, that Sony would spend BIG money on Blu-ray, all the while, developing the XBox 360 download service and getting a LEGION of fanbois to embrace the digital delivery method.  (Can you say, Apple TV, NetFlix, TiVo etc)

And just like the dupes they were, Sony POURED money into Blu-Ray, spent HUGE money to woo the major studios and bought off major game developers all in a vain attempt to win a format war that they had won at the starting gate.   And the side effect of all this?  MS was able to market the 360 way ahead of Sony, they had great games at the rollout, all while Sony and it’s developers tried desperately to get killer games onto the system.  (Meanwhile Nintendo walks in and slaps both of them, but that’s another story.)  As Sony poured money into Blu-Ray, they had to slight something, and it was game development.  Sony even went so far as to buy the Blu-Ray equipment for some smaller game developers.  What a bonus if you’re a small developer.
“My favorite iteration of the HD DVD campaign was the negative push whereby all you heard was how Blu-ray disks would scratch easily and be ruined by a single thumbprint, or how they are hard to manufacture, and on and on. This was an orchestrated attack and none of it was true.”, John C. Dvorak

So here’s the scoop...

  1. MS never intended to back HD-DVD

  2. Blu-Ray was better from day 1

  3. Sony poured capital into backing/hyping Blu-ray

  4. MS didn’t spend a dime on HD-DVD

  5. 360 rolls out with network that works and people get behind digital delivery model for stuff

  6. PS3 rolls out with lousy games, network flaws and some very Un-Sony-like problems

  7. MS “loses” the fight and Sony wonders why it cost them so damn much to win

  8. Phillips/MS/HD-DVD people all giggle and watch the latest Blu-Ray copy of “The Office”


It truly has been fun to watch this fight.  I’m kind of proud of Steve Balmer, he managed to win a fight like this without buying another competitor.  In fact, he showed more style than Bill Gates.

Oh, and congratulations to all you PS3 / Blu-Ray buyers.  You’ve got some great hardware there... <snicker>  But just think... 2008 is going to be the year of the PS3.  (Unless of course, they roll out some more clunker games...)