Will Blu-ray save the PS3?

The inclusion of a Blu-ray drive in the PS3 was a big cause of the release delay and overpricing. Sony thought they could win the last media format war by injecting their player into millions of homes (much like DVD penetration with the PS2) and make them the winner.

Now the PS3 is in trouble (mostly because it’s overpriced), but Blu-ray may win anyway with the recent Warner Brothers announcement. If Blu-ray wins, will that save the PS3?

It’s difficult to answer a question like that, because it’s too vague. What do you mean by “save”?

I’m going to assume that by “save” he means “make profitable”.

(which doesn’t make the question much easier to answer)

I doubt it’ll have any effect on the PS3’s sales at all. The only reason people bought the PS3 to use it as a Blu-ray player was because it was the cheapest solution. But by the time this format war has a clear winner, there will be a lot more inexpensive players out there and the only people buying the PS3 will be the ones who actually want to play games on it.

Not sure I’m totally buying that.

I think I want a next-gen movie playback machine, and I can afford one. If there are going to be BR players cheaper than PS3’s, I’ll look at them…but the chance to play games on my PS3 makes me willing to spend a hundred or two more for that increased functionality.

You don’t think people will think that getting a PS3 and a Blu-Ray player together for not much more than a stand-alone player will be a compelling deal? I sure do.

Honestly, the PS3 is a great system. It’s just suffering when it comes to its price, its games library, and its crappy online multiplayer, all of which will likely be remedied given enough time.

If it weren’t for the Blu-Ray drive, the PS3 would be a lot less attractive than it is. (Of course, if it weren’t for the Blu-Ray drive, I suppose it would be a lot cheaper and this conversation likely wouldn’t be necessary…)

Yeah, I agree with tiggercut. The problem is the tendancy to look at outcomes as black and white. The PS3 either wins or loses, succeeds or fails. In truth there is a whole lot of gray between those extremes and that is the area we are dealing in.

Yes, the fact that Blu-ray is winning the format war helps the PS3. Yes, putting a Blu-ray player in every PS3 helped Blu-ray win the format war. Yes, putting a Blu-ray player in every PS3 hurt PS3 sales (but not as much as not having a compelling exclusive game lineup). But how much any of those factors effect the final outcome, or where in that outcome you define success or failure are all personal distinctions.

Maybe. The Blu-ray format got a huge boost because there are plenty of people with an HDTV and Blu-ray player (PS3) who figure “If I got it, I may as well use it.” With the Blu-ray format looking like it’s going to win, we’ll probably see people buying PS3s for the Blu-ray capabilities, and hell, if the already have the console, they might as well get games for it. So I think it will help but I don’t think we’ll see Sony just start pwning everything.

I’m not entirely sure that Sony’s Game group is better off than it would have been with a DVD-playing PS3 in 2005 but if Blu-ray does take off (and it looks like it will, eventually), Sony, as a whole, will probably be better off. (Although it’s hard to say given the losses the PS group has taken already).

Hmm. Are they out yet?


I think Bluray winning the format war will stop the PS3 from being the total disaster that it would have been if HD DVD had won, but the console game market was Sony’s to lose coming into the generation and I don’t think the PS3 will be anywhere near as successful as the PS2 was, Bluray win or not, and from that point of view, it’ll still be a failure for Sony’s game division (though not for Sony overall if the PS3’s sales helped Bluray over the hump, which they probably did).

Yeah, how much did Sony’s touting of X million Blu-ray players in homes (90% of them being PS3) affect the WB decision? Then in turn how much of a bump will the PS3 get if HD DVD goes away because people might as well get a game machine with their HD movie player?

It depends on how quickly blu-ray matters. If there is a big upswing in interest in next-gen DVD in the next year, then yeah, the PS3 benefits. However, it’s not clear that it will matter. I’m not sure that many people care about upgrading their movies yet.

Plus, there are a lot of people who are interested in blu-ray that have no interest in gaming. Just because they buy a PS3 doesn’t mean they will ever buy a game for it and they will only by PS3’s as long as it’s cheaper or price competitive with blu-ray only players. Now that the war between the formats appear over, I suspect we’ll see cheaper blu-ray players relatively quickly.

It turns the PS3 from the Jaguar into the Gamecube. Does that count as saving?

A lot of people bought a PS2 for a cheap DVD player. Once you have the hardware you might as well use it.

It’s certainly going to help. It’s one of the reasons I bought a PS3.

That said, it’s also the root cause (IMHO) of many of the PS3’s problems. If the PS3 had launched simultaneously with the Xbox 360 with a standard DVD drive, at only $50 more instead of $200 more, would the gaming landscape look the way it does today?

The 360 might still have the game edge, since it’s so much easier to develop for, but a PS3 that had launched at the same time as the 360 with a closer price would have sold a hell of a lot better to gamers by now.

Very true, but there’s a difference between gamers and non-gamers. For gamers, the PS3 becomes more attractive because it can do both. For non-gamers interested in blu ray (a much larger number of people), the PS3 as a game machine doesn’t mean much. They’ll buy it as long as it’s the cheaper option, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy games for it.

And, again, none of this matters in the short term unless Blu Ray now takes off in a big way. How many people have been waiting for the format war to end who are willing to spend $400 for a player? I’d argue that’s still a relatively small number.

One downside is the fact that most Blu-Ray maovies are priced at least $10 more than the DVD versions. There’s still some sticker shock involved when you walk into a store and see that hot new release priced at $30 to $35.

Add to this the issue that the DVD can be played in the portable DVD player or laptop you might have for trips or the cheap DVD player you have in the kid’s room.

Will it get more sales overall? Sure, but at the same time, even if the PS3 was selling as many units as the 360 and the Wii, you’re only getting Blu-Ray to a 1/3rd of the systems sold per month.


The question is is Blu-Ray going to be a mass market phenomenon or is it going to be a niche product for videophiles and techies? And if it takes off when is that going to happen? I go into this in the Warner thread as well, but you need to think about the migration from DVD to Blu-Ray and how it effects the typical family. Prices on blu-ray needs to come way down for mass market penetration as you are often talking about people replacing multiple DVD players, and not many people are going to want to buy a disk they can only play on the TV in the living room but not on the one in the bedroom, kids room, or in the car. So while blu-ray winning certainly helps the PS3 I don’t think it’s going to really save it. I highly doubt they’re going to start flying off the shelves.

Maybe we’re atypical, but we buy far, far more kids movies than we do adult movies (which we rent via Netflix). Kids will watch the same movie over and over, so it’s just a much better deal to buy. There are very few movies I would want to watch more than once, and even those I’d probably only watch once every few years.

So, for us, Blu-Ray might have significance for rentals, but we would continue buying kids movies on DVD. (We’d have to replace both the main tv used for kids shows and the portable versions used on trips – too expensive to do soon. And it isn’t like kids are campaigning for Blu-Ray.

I dunno. I see very slow adoption.