Blu-Ray A Gamble For Sony?
As we all know by now, it's neither easy or cheap to manufacture a console capable of handling that fancy new Blu-Ray technology. Sony's PlayStation 3 costs an astonishing $800 to produce, which means the company takes a $200 hit on each system sold. Of course, they hope that Blu-Ray catches on with the mass consumer populartion, thus overriding the potential cost issue.
However, this is a definite risk. Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman told Reuters that "Blu-ray is adding $150 to $200 to the [cost of PS3]. They've created something that is not for today's market. It's not a market driver, it's only driving the price higher."
In addition to that statement, trend-watcher Cymfony examined over 18,000 blog and message board posts and the results aren't encouraging. Apparently, positive discussions regarding HD-DVD are 46% higher than for Blu-Ray. "Negative Blu-ray conversation indicated a lack of consumer trust in Sony, as well as gamer displeasure with selling Blu-ray in association with PlayStation 3," Cymphony's Jim Nail told Reuters.
Obviously, this latter survey isn't exactly indicative of the general consuming populace, and how Cymfony surmised "positive" and "negative" isn't clear. If they wandered over to System Wars at GameSpot, for example, they may as well toss out any data gathered from there...though they wouldn't have known that.
At the same time, Sony shows no concern whatsoever. After all, millions purchased the PS2 specifically for its DVD playback, so it's certainly feasible that millions more might pick up the PS3 for Blu-Ray."The likelihood of people using PS3s as DVD players is significant, particularly when you're talking about millions of consoles Sony expects to sell," Andy Parsons, a spokesman for the Blu-ray Disc Association said. "Blu-ray's here to stay."
12/8/2006 Ben Dutka