BLOG: Ozymandia’s blog… and his debate about Blu-Ray’s value

Ozymandias, aka Andre Vrignaud, is a Microsoft employee and a veteran of the computer gaming industry.  He is part of a team that determines the strategy of our gaming division and the direction of both Xbox Live & Xbox as a whole.

He’s got a blog on which there is a helluva debate going on with a friend of his Mark Deloura, who coincidentally is another industry veteran who works instead for "the other camp", aka Sony Developer Relations.

Ozymandias says Blu-ray’s larger capacity is irrelevant.  Mark disagrees.  You be the judge.

As an aside, there’s a comment made by a fellow named ExTester on one of the discussions about the announcement that Sony would have 75% fewer consoles at launch than originally promised (500,000 down from 2,000,000).  It’s so poignant I couldn’t help but replicate the content and put a pointer to it:

You know, I am almost sure that Sony will be taking a huge hit, and file for Chapter 11. Ok maybe, Chp.11 is a little far, but the company will not be doing well. I wonder what they will announce @ TGS cause the reality is, if they don’t announce any news like "We got good news we are back on track with our original launch figures" or something.. its bad news for Sony period. And I have to agree, for whatever reason I think they will do well selling their consoles. But I liked my Dreamcast and I didn’t see it coming when Sega announced that its out of the console market. And I loved my Dreamcast 4 or 5 games for it. Controller felt great for me, and I am loving the 360’s cause it remindes me so much of it.

To your "Playstation" brand loyalty comment. Sorry, I have asked a lot of people hands down. No matter who it is. Would you pay $600 for a game console if it was the next best thing since sliced bread(its not, but just to be fair). And all of them said No. They even mentioned that $400 was high, but not nearly as bad. I then mention if Playstation was behind the $600 version. It didnt change the response.

Fact is this is a razor on razorblade market, you cut your profits to make them up on title sales. But you dont take a big enough loss pushing out as many consoles to market, and there will be less 3rd Party to help recoup the loss because there is no market to make a profit. And this is where Sony is pushing themselves into. Samething wit Sega with the Dreamcast.

Now you mention that "Sony inserted themselves into the market as the cool system". But last I checked they lost that cool when they became arrogant and try’s to force a standard on people. The system that gains the cool factor is the one that works "with the people" to give them what they want. Granted, Microsoft doesn’t see eye to eye on the prices people suggest for their products, but they have come a long way. I used to be a serious hater of Microsoft in early 2000, but slowly I started to see a different company emerging that has a huge monkey on its back. Its past. I honestly can say that Microsoft is a different company that it once was, and I can honestly say that it probably started with Bill Gates getting married. That aside, Microsoft has a huge shadow to overcome. But, Sony is working ever so hard to become the shadow that Microsoft is trying to get rid of.

Now about the the HD-DVD drive, I have to agree with you on this completely. Every second the HD-DVD drive is not out for the 360 is every second that is giving blu-ray to fight back. I think HD-DVD is the better format mainly because it boils down to one thing.

Consistant video quality releases. And this is something a buddy of mine that was a huge blu-ray fan(now in the middle) agrees with me. Since blu-ray has come out it has done about everything wrong. But the biggest crime personally is inconsistant quality in the release of the movie titles that are released. I mean how do you know which codec its using? With HD-DVD is simple. Its VC1 and thats it. blu-ray has yet to fully support VC1 as they take their Mpeg-4(h.264) to 50 gig blu-ray discs. Personally h.264 is great for conference or email, which it was developed for, but looks like crap for movies. So what happens to all the movies that have been released on MPEG-2, are they going to be re-released in a better quality like the SuperBit BS? And its these simple screw ups that personally will undermine blu-ray.

In reference to the HD-DVD price, its most likely gonna be 200. But I think if they sell it @ 180 they will sell themselves. I mean its really close to 150, but its not 200. I will buy one regardless, but I think it will hurt Sony even more if they were going for 180 say the first three weeks. Take a sligth loss on the drive. It would help push the product even more so. I honestly cant wait for the HD-DVD for my 360, and neither can my wife. And you better believe I will be getting the HDMI cable for the 360. Cause I know it can handle dual DVI output with that nifty ATI video output chip. Anyhow thats the other thing that is going to hurt Sony..

Every single 360 that has been sold is HDMI ready, they have just been waiting for the lame format to finalize. Get a fancey adapter and presto change-o HDMI. Betcha its gonna be the 1 thing that they have not revealed about the 360 that they mentioned @ X05 and will annouce @ X06 or TGS. But that will be another bad day for Sony…

Lastly, one thing is for sure. I have to say that Microsoft has done an excellent job in reasuring the customer that they made the correct choice, everyday that goes by. Especially when you compare Sony to Microsoft, seems like Sony has been doing everthing wrong. Can’t wait for Gears of War, Halo 3, Forza 2, and Mass Effect.

And I agree with the above comments about the HD-DVD drive.  You guys have GOT to get that thing out on the market as soon as possible and hopefully at least a month before Christmas.  I’m probably not alone in saying its a sure purchase for me compared to the 500 Toshiba players and honestly, as noted, 6 million potential sales?? It’s a no brainer.  Let’s put an end to this ugly and stupid format war before it gets even uglier and stupider, and show Sony that they are not yet over the curse of the Betamax.…

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