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Should Blu-ray have been optional?

This is the question posed by the lengthy Ars editorial. The author opens it up with the angle on the current console race and how it differs from generations in the past. The big difference this time is, of course, the medium and formats.

But the big picture here is simple: should Sony have made their Blu-ray component an option for the PS3? Much in the same way Microsoft planned to make HD-DVD an add-on to the Xbox 360, Sony could have gotten away with doing the exact same with Blu-ray. Costs would have been lower and delays would have been shorter.

We all know how hard they're pushing for the adopting of the format though, so that would have essentially changed the console's very strategy. The article also suggests that by bundling the player with the system, Sony could have secured a spot in the future with stronger sales. But the issue rears its ugly head when faced with the reality that time will be the only way to tell if that move will pay off. Read on for more, including a hypothetical analysis of how much the PS3 would be without it.

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(Page 1)

1. No im glad they put blu-ray in there. I want my 25-200 gb discs.

The one thing they should have done though is resolve the whole stupid format war. But of course Microsoft would not let go of its propitary menu system. The menu system on blu-ray uses Java tech and since Microsoft wants to own everything they would not get aboard. Thank you Microsoft.

Now all I need is a blu-ray burner for my PC, preferably one that can burn quad-layer. One day soon please?

Posted at 1:08PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Fan

2. Personally I'm happier knowing there's more than enough space for game content, I've read a lot of arguments for and against blu-ray in the PS3, and there's no cons for me.

But this is from my point of view, whether it will benefit the PS3 in terms of it's success is yet to be seen.

Posted at 1:55PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Vince

3. blu-ray is good for games. it open possiblities that can't be realised in 360 because the 360 cant depend on the HD-dvd drive being there. (kinda like how dev's can't rely on the 20gig HD being there for the 360 either)
and in a year when sony and the rest of the BD accociation knows how to make the drives for cheap. the price will come down dramaticly.

the 360's $20 dvd drive won't be a source of cost cutting for the unit.

also when the price does come down, people will know they are getting high end tech that used to cost $600 thats a huge change that will let consumers know that they are getting an awesome deal.

i think it will simply take a little bit longer for sony yo hit their stride. (assuming awesome games keep comming out of course)

Posted at 2:09PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by alienclay

4. If blue-ray was optional than everyone would be saying the same thing they were saying when the x360 was first announced without a HD-dvd drive. "that isn't very next gen if it doesn't play the next gen media"
I don't think there is any reason they should have left blue-ray out. If they did they would have nothing over the xbox 360 besides the cell but that has been said time and time again that it has no major benefits (at least at this point in time).
Leaving out blue-ray would have only made the format war go on longer and maybe even make both new formats fail. At the very least it would make FFXIII be on 27,894,721 disks.

Posted at 2:11PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by rothgar

5. I think it was smart. It's basically an investment in the future, the way I see it. Over the next several years the games are going to grow to the point where they need a higher capacity media format.The same way the PS2 games did with CD-Rom and DVD. Almost no modern games are on CD-Rom, while almost all of the first games were CD-Rom.

XBox 360 users will have to upgrade in time, while PS3 users will not. Eventually the PS3 prices will come down. It won't be as bad as people are saying.

I do think this holiday season will definitely be a win for Microsoft though. In these tight times with $3.00 gallons of gas and rising interest rates I don't see a whole lot of families investing $600+ in a video game system.

But in the long run, I think the PS3 will prove to be a more desirable product.

All of my friends have the same plan that I do. Buy a Wii this year, and wait another year or two to get a PS3, assuming the games for it are as good as we expect.

Posted at 2:12PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Jcn

6. This author is a moron. Blu-Ray is required for the PS3's Games, due to the amount of content and Hi-Def textures that are going to be in use. I do not want to have to switch discs every hour to load new levels to play on. I'm glad that it's in there and I wanted an High Def format for a High Def TV anyway.

Posted at 2:13PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Robert

7. "Now all I need is a blu-ray burner for my PC, preferably one that can burn quad-layer. One day soon please?"

I thought the PS3 will take the place of a Im confused.

Posted at 2:13PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Cage

8. I disagree with all of you, it isnt necessary (it is now because of the way games are being made but if they hadnt been counting on it from the start...) and it will depress sales.

Dont you guys get it that sony is screwing all of us, it knows it cant win with blu-ray v hd-dvd so they are using their most loyal customers to do it for them. Instead of giving us the technology that we really need they are laying all this extra tech on us because they know that we are the suckers that will pay for it.

I dont think that 360 will end up being the best system but they do have very creative ways of delivering this content on DVD that so far are appearing to work. (if oblivion only take one disk i doubt many games will take more)

Will the price come down? Yes. But who is stuck paying the high price? The sony faithful, US.

I am frankly offended by it.

Posted at 2:19PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Paul

9. You guys have misunderstood the we don't need the PC statement..... All it means is that the PS3 is not as reliant on the PC for streaming media and all that jazz as the 360 is. It is saying you can do all the stuff the 360 dose with out the PC. I'm sure it can still use the PC. Maybe you should read more than the head lines...

Posted at 2:28PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Prize Fighter Inferno

10. "You guys have misunderstood the we don't need the PC statement....."

Oh...ok. Similar to the way people misunderstood MS explaining B/C? I read the whole article. The man said the PS3 can replace your PC. Besides the point, how would it have not been beneficial to have a much cheaper non BD version?

Posted at 3:04PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Cage

11. Hi guys this is my first post on engadget.

Well many who hav posted agree that the PS3 should have a Blu-ray drive and I too agree with all. With the next gen consoles more and more disk space would be required by the game developers to build their games effectively and efficiently and also to add sufficient game content without any worries.

As for no #8, when the PS2 was launched most of the games were in CD's and not DVD's. A year later a CD was not fit for may games and thus using a DVD became essential. And now with the next gen consoles after a year or two, the games would need more storage and the 360 cannot cross its DVD capacity but then the PS3 would be able to utilize its blu-ray drive and hence in future there wont be any disk space problems with the PS3 whereas the 360 may encounter such problems.

Posted at 3:04PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Harry

12. I agree completely with Harry. If there was ever a time I thought I would by the 360, it was before I heard the lack of an HD-DVD drive for games. That and I don't have a PS2 yet. So I'm getting my moneys worth with the PS3.

Posted at 3:29PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Robert

13. legit statement and concern, but how big do you think games will get? d oyou think it would ever get to the point where someone will buy 1 200 hour epic for 150 bucks once a year? I mean i just think that we may be a bit before our time here, especially with what these processors can do and how they can processes highly condensed information in amazing speeds.

Posted at 3:39PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Paul

14. I think the higher capacity discs is a major advantage sony has in this generation of consoles, that coupled with their choice of the cel processor were the two moves that will completely catapult them above the competition towards the end of this generation. (Granted, we may not see a huge difference in games on day one, but with these technologies, it's almost like they're releasing a built in console upgrade as developers utilize the possibilities of the system).

On the other hand, developers may choose not to put that time in when they can release cross platform games that cater to the lowest common denominator. That's why it was a business risk, and Sony has been trying to recapture their brand image as the company that doesn't sacrifice quality, so I think it was a good move.

Posted at 3:43PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Khidr

15. #13... Future games will require more and more space not because there will be hundreds of hours of epic games or other games. It is because as the time will prorgress, the developers will take the graphics to an even higher level with the PS3 and that too in HD. Just imagine dont u wanna play ur favorite game in 1080P at 60 fps with better graphics than what are made at the lauch of a console...

Just look back to PS2, was Gran Turismo 3 as good as Gran Turismo 4? No...

I was taught that people resist to change n its true. People do not except something new so easily that why people are having problems with the PS3. But after 2-3 years PS3 would be the favorite of all the gaming fans(Those gaming fans who are not limited to a particular console, like me, I own a 360 n will buy a PS3 and Wii as well)...

Posted at 4:00PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Harry

16. But they do sacrafice quality! the PS2 DVD showed that. And unless the Ps3 blu-ray is top quality (which in November it wont be simply because it is NEW technology) then they will have a huge issue on their hands. I am glad I will get to utilize it someday, but this generation of consoles should not have been that day.

Posted at 4:01PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Paul

17. huge claim it will be the favorite of gaming fans, it will be our favorite sure, but not of the whole market.

Could it pay off huge and be a great move? Sure! Does that mean that they should make their most loyal customers their guinne pigs? hell no.

Posted at 4:06PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Paul

18. The disk problem is completely and overly exaggerated. First of all thanks to the new compression techniques thankfully no game needs a 50-200GB of storage. Games that go over 9GB are poorly coded. Besides nobody had a problem when they switched disk in the Final Fantasy Series. If we ever get to disk swapping it won't be a big deal. If anything disk swapping gives you a sort of break, and also allows you to know how far into the game you are. Take for instance the Final Fantasy series: as soon as I finished a disk I was excited about what the next disk contained as I could only find that out by, of course, finishing disk in sequence. Who could forget the feeling one got when they played FF7 and you just completed the biggest battle ever on the end of disk 2, and then you see the screen that says Please insert disk 3? You felt a since of completion and you where eager to finish the story. The feeling is exhilaratingly!

As for Sony's PS3 there is no guarantee that the format will win. Filling the Blu-Ray with content will create huge and unnecessary development cost that will not bode well with consumers once they see the price of the games. The evolution of gaming will be continued development of digital distribution, in addition to higher capacity drives. Another thing that gets me about this discussion is many of you act as if the PS3 Blu-Ray is rewritable. I hear comments like "I can't wait to get my 25-200GB disks"; like the user gets to control the amount of content on the disk. If the manufacturer decides that 1GB of data is enough for their game than you're still paying for the high cost of Blu-Ray. I'm not saying the format will fail because it can go either way. But if it does fail Sony is going to be fatally wounded.

Posted at 4:09PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by LongshotX

19. Dear Paul, I agree that the PS2 DVD quality was not that good. But The PS3 is a much powerful system than the PS2 and has much improved overall quality. The PS3 supports 5.1 surround sound(the PS2 did not supported 5.1). M not saying anything at this point of time but watching Movies on PS3 would be good for sure.

Sorry for my huge claim if u think so...
But it was just my comment and what I m expecting out the next gen consoles...

Posted at 4:17PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Harry

20. PS2 as a system was not poor quality, it was great for the generation, what I am saying is that I dont think that we as gamers should be the test rats for new tech. It is attractive to make us so because of the fact that we are early adopters, but because we are also the most loyal, sony is taking a HUGE risk

Posted at 4:27PM on Jun 2nd 2006 by Paul

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