While Sony seems to be doing everything it can to embrace and promote Blu-ray disc use on the PS3, Microsoft has decided to take the exact opposite path with their console.
In an interview this week, Microsoft’s UK gaming executive Stephen McGill has made it abundantly clear that the company has no plans to add a Blu-ray drive to the Xbox 360 because they don’t believe that the format has staying power.
“Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format,” McGill told xbox360achievements.org. “ People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray? “
While Microsoft seems to think that the lack of a Blu-ray drive is not an issue, game developers disagree. Jun Takeuchi, producer of Lost Planet 2, has reported that his development team at Capcom had to cut “significant” content from the Xbox 360 version of the game due to limited disc space.
In fact, this particular issue shouldn’t be news to anyone. Developers have been voicing their concerns for the past five years about the limited DVD capacity the Xbox 360 would have compared to the PS3.
Of course this will only be a problem as long as games are produced on physical media – which may not be much longer the way things seems to be changing. Digital games outsold those bought at retail stores during the first half of this year by 3 million units. Some analysts are even predicting that the launch of cloud-based gaming services like OnLive will eventually make owning console hardware obsolete.
Considering what the analysts are saying, Microsoft could have made the smarter business move in this situation. In skipping the Blu-ray drive they’ve been able to keep the price of the Xbox 360 lower than the PS3, and customers are able to use Xbox Live to download additional content that may not be included on a disc. Who really does need Blu-ray?