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Is the “format war” over?

Jeff Rubenstein's Avatar + Posted by Jeff Rubenstein on Feb 18, 2008 // Sr. Social Media Manager

I don’t know how much you gamers have been following the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD “format war”, but since every PS3 owner has a stake in it, I thought I’d share some interesting developments that have taken place recently…

If you *have* been paying attention, you’ll probably remember that about a month ago, Warner Bros. threw its considerable weight behind the Blu-ray Disc format. Then in the last week, both Best Buy and Netflix also chose Blu-ray as their format of choice.

This weekend, in what might be the decisive victory in this “format war,” Toshiba – leader of the HD-DVD camp – is reported to be pulling out of the HD-DVD business. Analysts had been saying that a lot of consumers are waiting for a clear format victor before plunking down their hard-earned money on a device. Based on this month’s NPD numbers, consumers had seen which way the wind was blowing even before this week.

Blu-ray’s benefits for gaming development are clear. For those of you who have seen their PS3 as the hub of their home entertainment center, I hope you find this piece of news reassuring as well.

Happy Presidents’ Day, and see you from GDC!

//Add Your Own

186 Comments

101

+ Mr Everdred 01 on February 18th, 2008 at 5:51 pm said:

@jackrabbit75
I’m not so sure if Sony will allow a Blu-ray add-on for the Xbox 360. They really need any advantage they can get for the PS3. Plus, the HD-DVD Xbox 360 add-on started at $200. At that price, you can almost buy a stand-alone Blu-ray player.


102

+ nmc75 on February 18th, 2008 at 6:00 pm said:

A Blu-ray add-on for the Xbox 360 is not a bad idea… why not? It will only accentuate that fact that Sony had it right all along.. and the PS3 can use it for games as well, not just movies.


103

+ darkiewonder on February 18th, 2008 at 6:17 pm said:

Don’t get too excited, especially this early in the year because who knows what could happen in the coming months.


104

+ joel on February 18th, 2008 at 6:24 pm said:

Guys this is it, your chance to destroy the xbox 360:

Drop ps3′s price in GDC too the following

$349.99 for the 40gb+white ps3 launch

$449.99 new model with 160gb HDD+ dual shock 3

If you guys release IN GAME XMB oR Home this thursday I will scream like a little girl and start running on the street like a small child gettin ice cream.


105

+ joel on February 18th, 2008 at 6:25 pm said:

Also, if microsoft goes with a blu-ray add on thats great, since sony owns blu-ray, they will profit of microsoft.


106

+ scorpio on February 18th, 2008 at 6:46 pm said:

Didn’t really matter to me but is is nice that bluray won because i got my 5 free movies to start my bluray collection now…


107

+ Cpt.blue on February 18th, 2008 at 7:40 pm said:

Hurray for PS3 – the sophisticated gaming console.


108

+ WillSimth1 on February 18th, 2008 at 7:48 pm said:

Good Job Sony! Take that all the people who said BD sucked! I really do agree with everyone, Sony has a lot going for it now. I think that putting the 40GB at $300 would be a VERY smart move in the long run, so yeah you will lose a little bit per console sold, but with all this Blu-Ray news and GTA IV and MGS 4 and even more stellar titles on the way in the coming months this price cut is a must. If Sony takes the price down another 100 it would put it below the 20gb 360 and by pulling such an agressive move another price cut would probably not be needed for another year or two. Also putting out a 120GB with DS3 at $400 would be a good move, but with all the complaining that people gave MS after they came out with the Elite, it could anger quite a few people(although I was mainly pissed about the HDMI), so I think Sony should be careful about another SKU. Also a white console is a must with 40GB. Also one last thing that needs to be done is make those 3rd party devs put the PS3 to work. All 1st party titles kick 360s ass in all catigories, but very few 3rd party games show off the power advantage PS3 has over the 360 so make sure big 3rd party games such as madden and ncaa show customers just how much the PS3 kicks ass! Sony, you have a lot of potential here, use it to your full advantage do not be afraid to be agressive!


109

+ SwordOfWar on February 18th, 2008 at 7:57 pm said:

multiplatform titles will never be great. They have to make their games work on both systems, so they can’t use anything that both systems can’t handle.

Only exclusive games have the option to be truly excellent.


110

+ HanSolo on February 18th, 2008 at 8:17 pm said:

sony doesnt even have to do anything to destroy the 360, it is destroying itself, ms has to recycle older parts and put then in new machines.. that is how bad it got with the hardware, one of their new motherboards coming up uses recycled parts from non fixable 360.. lol, must be a lot of bad hardware for ms to invest into recycling..lol

with the games coming out in 2008 for ps3, the number 1 sport is guaranteed


111

+ GamerMan76 on February 18th, 2008 at 8:20 pm said:

@OrganicShadow

I see what you are saying but I feel if the developer has to be forced to do something that would be one less game that could possibly come to the system.

I don’t want it so open that any game can make it like the ones made for the Wii recently but I don’t want it so restrictive that some developers would not make the game.

Do i want to have a 5gb install… nope, do i want to wait 22 minutes for it… nope. I do however feel that it is based upon the developer. I will have to check my Oblivion install to see how much is on the HDD because I don’t remember that one specifically.

I personally just don’t agree with ya but it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.. and maybe i was harsher with the tone then it was meant.. needed a few more :) in there, but it is a gaming system designed for the developers needs. Obviously the Oblivion install was worth it because I barely had any load times. Where as the Capcom DMC4 seems to only made it about the same as the X360 version.

The install is easily deletable after you’re done with the game and yes i know.. you will have to reload it and wait that time again if you felt like playing it again.

I will succumb to the fact I will have to agree to disagree with ya, but I have said my peace.

I think the Blu-ray has added to the market and I don’t think the issues that capcom and some other developers that are having problems; will later in the consoles life cycle. I mean the system is only a little over 1 year old in the US and not even a year in the Euro/UK area.


112

+ tirminyl on February 18th, 2008 at 8:40 pm said:

@OrganicShadow – If you average the speed times out, the drives will break even. A benefit to the PS3, is that it has a standard HDD that the 360 does not. This can aid the developers in seeking less from the disc as the HDD would be faster to seek from and load into memory. Also, this is speaking in regards to a single layer dvd9. A dual layer dvd9 disc is a little bit slower to read from on it’s fastest speed.

As far as install, it is all dependent upon the developers ability to get the most out of the console. MMO’s can be cut out of the equation as they are a bit different. Capcom has DMC4 and Lost Planet which both run off their Framework engine so they both require a 5gb install. This could be in the way they have their engine setup and it may be more tailored to the 360. I just so happened to look through my Save Game Utility to view whats been installed. For the most part everything is relatively small. There are a few 2gb installs and some were optional by me. Some to note were Heavenly Sword, which had seamless transition between scenes. Very little if no loading as well unless the player died and had to restart. One thing I did not see was Uncharted. There was no install for it, meaning it was just been a temporary cache. That game is virtually king of no load times. Guess the developer did something right in that regard.

Either way, this is to discuss the blu-ray media and thus far our discussion does not pertain to that.


113

+ Lemondish on February 18th, 2008 at 9:08 pm said:

Uncharted Drake’s Fortune. Resistance: Fall of man. Heavenly Sword. Ratchet and Clank Future. Call of Duty 4. Unreal Tournament 3.

All these games are arguably bigger on the disc than any of Capcom’s offerings, especially considering the amount of gameplay provided in DMC4 and Lost Planet. However NONE of these games ever require a MANDATORY install of 5 gigabytes in order for the game to load data. In fact, many of these games STREAM data off the disc.

What I am saying here is that Capcom has again failed the gaming community in an attempt to save money in their bottomline by quickly porting a title between two systems and not ever tuning it for the strengths (in this case, weaknesses) of the other system. Blu-Ray has provided us gamers with extremely expansion environments where developers no longer need to hold back their visions.

Blu-Ray as a gaming tool is nothing but a plus for any gamer, and it will continue to be ONLY AS LONG as the development community embraces its strengths, and plans for its weaknesses.

I do not believe Microsoft will react in time to embrace Blu-Ray with the Xbox360. I actually believe that they’ll miss this train, content in their ‘fortress of success’. But honestly, their recent shenanigans paint a picture for me, and it says to me they’re scared.

No other reason to falsely claim one of the most anticipated games of 2008 has ‘exclusive’ features ‘unique’ to your system.


114

+ darthpibe on February 18th, 2008 at 11:29 pm said:

great for movies, awfull for games, if it is so great why we need to install 4 gigs of game in the console its not a pc, its a game console!!!!.


115

+ EvoAnubis on February 19th, 2008 at 12:27 am said:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080219005651&newsLang=en

That’s about as over as it can get.


116

+ Ramage on February 19th, 2008 at 12:27 am said:

transformers on blu-ray soon?

I can only hope.


117

+ WHAT on February 19th, 2008 at 12:48 am said:

It’s over. I demand title change.


118

+ CitizenInsane27 on February 19th, 2008 at 1:36 am said:

Excellent news Sony and crew. I would like to say thanks to all the fans of Sony and the Playstation brand that bought a PS3 with the BD functionality in mind. We needed that built in tech to win, and ultimately push media tech forward.

Congrats peeps.


119

+ masteratt on February 19th, 2008 at 2:09 am said:

A bit of an ambitious title isn’t it?
Unless it was strictly referring to Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD.

It was always a matter of time before HD-DVD gave in, their strategy was to drag the war on until downloadable content took some market but that’s a tactic that’s sure to fail and they finally gave up.

It’s great to see a Sony backed format at the throne again, I agree with almost all your business decisions so I’m sure I will enjoy the Blu-Ray run.

Now what are the chances of Microsoft showing the white flag with it’s Xbox? ha.

Anyway guys, congratulations!


120

+ toolfan2007 on February 19th, 2008 at 2:34 am said:

Viva Le Blu Ray Resistance!!!!


121

+ HanSolo on February 19th, 2008 at 2:36 am said:

see?? remember when i said sony didnt have to do anything because ms and the 360 were destroyind themselfs?? lol
here… ms starts of gdc…..with…… RROD lol what a joke lol

http://kotaku.com/357951/microsoft-lights-up-gdc-with-red-ring-of-death


122

+ p-s-3 on February 19th, 2008 at 2:46 am said:

Resistance:Fall of HD-DVD!!!
;-D ;-D ;-D


123

+ Crimson_Ryan on February 19th, 2008 at 3:26 am said:

Its about time that people start realizing how much potential that Blu-Ray has.

First it was with their DVDs, next, the consoles.

This year belongs to Sony. :D


124

+ balliinn on February 19th, 2008 at 3:58 am said:

congratulation, Sony.


125

+ steve86uk on February 19th, 2008 at 4:33 am said:

Java wins


126

+ TomGunt on February 19th, 2008 at 5:06 am said:

Some games on PS3 still do disc seeks like mad.. On average one disc seek takes 150ms (mechanical limitation, not technology one), do 10 of those in a row and you have wasted 1.5 seconds of loading time. HD installs just free developers about having to actually think when and what they’re going to do with the game resources. HD accesses are basically “free”..


127

+ darkiewonder on February 19th, 2008 at 5:10 am said:

Now that HD-DVD is out of the picture. can we shift focus on the things that really matter? 2008 is the year playstation 3 is known for its game. and games i meaen lots of Old Franchises Plus even bigger new IP’s that outnumbers the old. Thanks. ;)


128

+ Jeigh on February 19th, 2008 at 6:39 am said:

Well, it’s OFFICIALLY OVER now. Toshiba finsally ejects HD-DVD: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6186213.html?action=convert&om_clk=latestnews&tag=latestnews;title;2

Ironic that you’d make this post a mere day before it was official. Now get us plenty of pretties to look, watch, and read about at GDC, ‘kay? :D


129

+ thingg on February 19th, 2008 at 7:02 am said:

@OrganicShadow
umm… just so you know, DVD is only faster than Blu-ray on the extreme outer edge, and for the vast majority of the disc, it is a lot slower than a 2x BD. The max bit-rate that the “other console’s” optical drive can achieve under perfect conditions is 126.6 Mbit/s, which I will agree is much faster that the PS3′s 72 Mbit/s. However, this advantage in speed drops rapidly as you get away from the edge of a DVD (because of lower rpms for the disc) and by the time you get through ~700MB-1GB of date (~1.4-2GB on a DVD DL) you are reading at about the same rate as a BD and all of the other 3.7-4GB (7.5-8.1GB on a DVD DL) is read slower than the BD. BD’s read rate doesn’t drop as fast; similar to how a low speed DVD, say 2x or 4x, doesn’t drop as fast. This is because the disc is not spinning as fast (a 12x DVD is clocking more than 8500rpm and a 2x BD might hit 2500-3000rpm). So that means that the BD is flat-out faster for about 20GB of the data that can be stored on a single layer disc. And in addition to that, BD also has the obvious advantage of storing 5-6 times as much information per data layer than is possible on a DVD.

And btw, you are correct in stating that Capcom is not not the only dev to use 4GB+ install files, but they are the only ones that both 1) force you to install a file that size and 2) make you install it at the beginning of the game instead of installing in the background during gameplay (a la Uncharted). Hopefully, they will sit down and have a heart to heart talk with Naughty Dog on how to not make all of the 10.5 million PS3 owners out there loathe the very mention of their name.

Also, congrats Sony on finally coming out on top in a format war. REVENGE!!!!!!! (it’s cool…)


130

+ Juben on February 19th, 2008 at 7:25 am said:

Congrats Sony for beating out Toshiba and M$ in the format war. You guys have plenty of time to enjoy this because not everyone has a high speed connection so streaming is not going to happen anytime soon and downloading a hd movie is something most of us do not want to wait for only for our ISP to block it hence what comcast is doing to many people as well as a few other companies. Guess I’m just one of those many people who just like to have a case open it up compared to click download and wait.


131

+ mdo7 on February 19th, 2008 at 7:32 am said:

I just saw the article on yahoo and comcast. I think it’s official. The format war is over because Toshiba said they’re going to stop making HD-DVD and everybody taking a liking to Blu-ray.


132

+ TouchyEd on February 19th, 2008 at 7:43 am said:

#108

Multi-platform games will never be great?

Nonsense.

Oblivion.
Call of Duty 4.
Rockband.
Burnout Paradise

The list goes on and on…


133

+ Fersis on February 19th, 2008 at 8:02 am said:

Congratulation to the minds behind BluRay , and chers to kutaragi san , he is a really clever ingeneer.


134

+ Netweb on February 19th, 2008 at 8:07 am said:

Hey Dylan… when can be add ships or boats? Motocycles?


135

+ Netweb on February 19th, 2008 at 8:07 am said:

Sorry wrong notice.. xD


136

+ BrianC6234 on February 19th, 2008 at 8:16 am said:

I have to laugh at all the knuckleheads who for the last year said Sony made a huge mistake. Blu-ray isn’t needed for games, blah blah blah. They sure look foolish now. Blu-ray will be what makes the PS3 the winner in the console war. Those people just don’t know what it takes to last five or more years. Sony used CD in the Playstation and it got the Playstation the win that generation. DVD and the PS2 were a great combo the last generation. Now Blu-ray and the PS3. Sony knows what they’re doing, that’s for sure.


137

+ scorpio on February 19th, 2008 at 8:19 am said:

Woohooo……….. Bluray did it!!!!!!

Great job Sony…..

I’m proud to own a a bluray player…woohoo


138

+ jorgiex on February 19th, 2008 at 8:28 am said:

“Blu-ray’s benefits for gaming development are clear. For those of you who have seen their PS3 as the hub of their home entertainment center”
If this is truely the future then why oh why do companies feel like there needs to be a 5GB install in order to keep load times down also to point out 360 ran the now “old” Lost Planet just fine with out installing anything onto HDD and your so called HOLY GRAIL BRdisks 50GB storage capacity can’t do the same. I feel like the more storage the Disk holds the more installs are gonna be required. I buy consoles to play from disk not to play them like a PC with a controller plugged into it. So before everyone gets all happt for BR let make sure the the data through put it higher and that the PS3 small amount of internal memory can channel it correctly direct from BRdisk and not the HDD. I would rather have a bunch od small DVDs and have fast load times and no installs than a huge BRdisk with long load times and huge HDD installs.


139

+ JamesL007 on February 19th, 2008 at 8:34 am said:

Its official today, they released a Press Release over at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2008_02/pr1903.htm

You can see they are stopping future productions of the HD-DVD Players and Recorders.


140

+ FFObsessed on February 19th, 2008 at 8:34 am said:

Great news that Toshiba have dropped HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is the new standard.

Sony got a lot of stick for putting a BD drive in the PS3 but I am delighted they have. Now I dont have to buy a separate stand alone, so Sony have actually saved me a lot of money. Plus it has benefits for gaming.

Lucking forward to There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men on Blu-Ray.


141

+ efenili on February 19th, 2008 at 8:35 am said:

Congrats you guys. This is a HUGE win for you guys and im glad it went this way. Don’t pay attention to all the haters :P Even though I am sure you’re used to it all by now….


142

+ P_tear_griffin on February 19th, 2008 at 8:40 am said:

figured I’d post here again to be post# 150. BD wins! and yes, Sony “pushed” the format down our throats but was ballsey enough to do it and benefit from it now.. and we benefit too.


143

+ BrianC6234 on February 19th, 2008 at 8:41 am said:

“If this is truely the future then why oh why do companies feel like there needs to be a 5GB install in order to keep load times down also to point out 360 ran the now “old” Lost Planet just fine with out installing anything onto HDD and your so called HOLY GRAIL BRdisks 50GB storage capacity can’t do the same.”

This isn’t a Blu-ray problem. This is a problem more with porting 360 games to the PS3. Capcom is the main culprit. All games can benefit from using the hard drive to cache files though. Capcom just seems to be using a lot more space than most other developers.


144

+ P_tear_griffin on February 19th, 2008 at 8:41 am said:

damnit, I was gonna be post 150 when I was writing… damn u efenili


145

+ Voozi on February 19th, 2008 at 8:43 am said:

I bet everyone at SCE is jamming out to this song right now

Eiffel 65 – Blue

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL2UsAbI1hg

(not Rick Roll don’t worry)


146

+ TouchyEd on February 19th, 2008 at 8:49 am said:

#137

Who cares whether games use the HDD or the Blu-Ray drive anyway? Personally, if I can get a larger and better gaming experience after a one-time 20-minute install then I’ll gladly wait the 20 minutes. It took me six months to wait for the game, two hours to drive to the mall to buy it, so what’s another frickin’ twenty minutes?

You’d need to be a complete fool to argue that DVD (XBox360, etc) is a better gaming technology than Blu-Ray.


147

+ ItotheCtotheE on February 19th, 2008 at 8:51 am said:

Please don’t let this blog turn into this. Let’s keep it to news about games.


148

+ milhavoc on February 19th, 2008 at 9:09 am said:

good news, lets hope game sales actually increase! not just more BDs sold!


149

+ juanleche on February 19th, 2008 at 9:14 am said:

upscale all ps3 games to 1080 so that all content on the ps3 can be played in hd on all hdtvs, something even the other console does.

Do the folks at Sony really have not concern with the fact that a 720p only game can not be played in HD on all hdtvs? Devil may cry should not be in 480p on any hdtv, please let someone know


150

+ thingg on February 19th, 2008 at 9:56 am said:

@148
How old is your TV? 3 years? 4 years? Honestly, I agree with you it’s dumb to not upscale 720p games to 1080i for older TVs, but geez. if it’s that big of a deal to you, get a new TV.


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