Along with Toshiba, Microsoft is one of those companies that helps tech writers to fill up column inches and maintain
pixel word counts when looking at high definition.
Microsoft’s senior Xbox executive, Chris Lewis, has said that, “before very long we will look back wistfully at shiny discs as something that was somewhat a historic phenomenon in a way that we kind of think about vinyl [he’s obviously not a DJ] or VCRs today.”
Despite rumours — which may ultimately turn out to be true — that Microsoft is considering supporting Blu-ray in some way going forward, the company is still highly committed to digital downloads as the future. It won’t be long either, according to the almighty.
“That’s the future direction, and I think that’s going to be the case in the next 12-18 months,” Lewis predicted. “I think we’re going to be talking much more about that than anything else. Do I think that this Christmas will somehow be defined by DVD playback? I genuinely don’t think that will be the case. I do not think that [the demise of HD DVD] will have any material impact on our console velocity. And I think other factors, specifically our architecture around downloads, is far more advantageous and important for the future.”
The real question is “Does anyone really care?”
Microsoft may well deem to include Blu-ray support in Windows, but that would only be in the same vein as they’d include support for a new digital camera or controller. It doesn’t mean they have to support the format in a philosophical way.
Most companies see the increasing importance of digital download methods, and it’s not just Microsoft investing in that. It may well become a significant battleground in the next few years, though I don’t think those shiny discs are going to disappear for a while yet.
Having said that, Sony and company are doing themselves no favours by increasing the price of their Blu-ray players. If that trend continues, consumers will either stick with DVD — which is perfectly adequate for non audio and videophiles — or jump straight over Blu-ray to digital content.
Perhaps in just a few years it will be much better to be a company selling hard drives than Blu-ray players.
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