PS3 owners adopt Blu-ray, slowly

Roughly a third of Playstation 3 owners have yet to try the console’s Blu-ray movie playback, according to a recent survey.

The NPD Group found that 34 percent of those surveyed in August 2009 hadn’t popped a Blu-ray movie disc into the tray. That’s pretty much the same result compared to a survey from August 2008, Video Business reports.

That means the majority of PS3 owners are watching at least the occasional film on Blu-ray, but NPD says users are generally slow to adopt it. New PS3 owners tend to buy mostly DVDs for a while, the market research group found, but over time they start picking up more Blu-ray discs.

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The finding makes sense given people’s motivations for buying the console in the first place. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said they bought the PS3 mostly to play games, while 34 percent said they had games and movies in mind. Just 8 percent said the Blu-ray player was their main reason for picking up Sony’s console.

“Most PS3 people think of it as a gaming device, but there is a reasonable level of awareness and intended use for Blu-ray.” NPD analyst Russ Crupnick he said. Indeed, compared to how Playstation 2 owners warmed to DVD at a similar point in its life cycle, PS3 owners are adopting Blu-ray faster. However, NPD believes that the PS3’s newly lowered price will bring in casual users who aren’t as enthusiastic about the technology, and Blu-ray use will drop as a percentage of the total user base.

I think the biggest reason Playstation 3 owners are slow on the Blu-ray uptake is because of the extra cost to buy or rent a disc. That may be a sticking point for Blu-ray adoption in general, but if you didn’t buy the Playstation 3 with Blu-ray in mind, there’s little incentive to make the switch.

Over time, though, I imagine PS3 owners will want to take advantage of the hardware they paid for. At that point, it’s up to Blu-ray’s picture quality to seal the deal.