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Microsoft XBox (Games) Games

Xbox Head Proclaims Blu-ray Dead 547

Blacklaw writes "Microsoft has sided with Apple in a rare case of solidarity between the two companies, and declares that Blu-ray will be 'passed by' as a high-definition format. In many ways, it's hard to disagree. US markets have seen the demand for legal digital downloads of PC games exceed sales of the physical object for the first time, and Apple famously refuses to put a Blu-ray drive in its Macs, as Jobs prefers to send people towards iTunes to download their entertainment. That said, there's an argument for physical media, too. A recent survey suggested that the majority of gamers prefer physical discs, and digital downloads have the secondary effect of entirely cutting out the popular market for second-hand films and games — a plus for publishers, but a big negative for the consumer."
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Xbox Head Proclaims Blu-ray Dead

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:56AM (#33662460)

    I never thought I would say it, but I can now quite easily envision a day very soon when all my new media (games, movies, music, TV shows, books, etc.) will belong to studios, software companies, publishers, etc.--with me just renting it. There will be no such thing as buying a used book, or a used videogame. I will never be able to resell any media that I "buy." If the studio decides to have a moritorium [] on a movie (like Disney so often does), they will just be able to flick a switch at any time and turn my copy of that movie off. Publishers will be able to edit all my books retroactively. When a director decides he doesn't like the ending of his movie, he can change it and force that change on everyone who owns it. If a studio goes bankrupt and takes down their servers, all my movies from them will turn to digital dust. If a judge issues a court order, all copies of a piece of media will evaporate with a single command from a media server somewhere. And when my internet goes down, so does every piece of media I own.

    I will own nothing. The media companies will control how I watch or use my media, when I use it, where I use it, and how long I use it, and even *if* I can use it. I will either be completely at their mercy, or forced to resort to law-breaking to enjoy my own media as I wish.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:57AM (#33662466)

    If it was Sony and Microsoft, I'm sure /. would call it collusion - which it is.

  • Not only BluRay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tukz ( 664339 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:57AM (#33662480) Journal

    Microsoft and Apple aren't just proclaiming the death of Blu-ray, but psychical media entirely.
    They are just using Blu-Ray as a front for that, as it's the biggest consumer disc currently.

    I don't see psychical media dieing anything soon though.

    I don't mind digital downloads, I see a use for it.
    But I also see a use for psychical media.

    Get over it, they can both be here.

  • by datajack ( 17285 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:04AM (#33662612)

    The point of HD is high quality, right?

    So, in which fantasy land do these streamed or downloaded films match the 20-30Mb/s data rate of playing a film off Blu-Ray? Or have they managed to invent some magical new codec that's ~10x as efficient as what you find on disk without losing quality?

    Enjoy downloading your high resolution but blocky and fuzzy mess. I'll stick to a high quality, sharp picture thanks.

  • by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:05AM (#33662630)
    You know the story of the frog in the cauldron, right? If you put a live one in a cauldron with boiling water, he will leap out as soon as he touches the water. But if you put it there and slowly heat up the water, he won't notice until it is too late. Guess what the content owners are doing to the consumers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:05AM (#33662636)

    Digital downloads aren't going to replace physical media anytime soon. The vast majority of North America doesn't have the Internet infrastructure that would be required to support large numbers of people downloading hi-def movies continously. Plus, most ISPs in both the US and Canada impose fairly low bandwidth caps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:08AM (#33662676)

    Of course the customers would complain and whine. The copyright owners, however, backed by the best copyright protection laws money can buy, will make sure they don't get a choice.

    "If you don't like it, don't watch," will the the response of those who buy into the system. "Film your own movies"/"Write your own books"/"Build your own games"/"Perform your own music" will be the response of the copyright conglomerates. And people will and do now, but, good luck distributing anything when all playback devices are locked down. Trusted Computing will prevent you from running apps that aren't signed by huge corporations that can afford to pay the certification and membership fees which really just funnel back to themselves because they belong to the organizations that benefit (see the existing relationships between movie studios and the MPAA).

    Hold on to your unprotected old analog stuff. It'll be pretty valuable once this takes over.

  • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:09AM (#33662708)

    Or he thinks we do.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:11AM (#33662758) Journal

    >>>-with me just renting it.

    Pretty much.

    But before we jump on that bandwagon, let's not forget practical limitations. A Bluray holds 50 gigabytes of data. Downloading that over my 750k DSL connection would take 7 days, and there are a lot of people who don't have even that speed (still suck on dialup). Plus once I've downloaded the file I'll want to store it somewhere permanent, like a Bluray-R so why not just save some time, go to the store, and get the Bluray already conveniently pressed on disc for me?

    Bottom Line - Blurays are not disappearing yet. People like the convenience and instant gratification.

    Also Steve Jobs has a bad habit of burying technology while it's still alive & breathing in the coffin. He famously stopped putting floppies in Macs (1999), when people still needed floppies to trade work files, or to access older archived software, or to revive dead systems, thereby forcing Mac users to spend extra for an external drive. NOW it looks like he's doing the same with DVDs and Blurays - declaring them as "not needed" when they still ARE needed.

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:20AM (#33662940)

    "CD Quality" is dead, to be replaced by downsampled and compressed mp3s
    "Bluray Quality" is dead, to be replaced by downsampled, compressed iTunes downloads, streamed netflix/comcast, Hulu etc..

    Hell, even the stuff on TV that is claimed to be "HD" is compressed by your cable provider. It's a shame as a Bluray just provides that much more content than some compressed/re-encoded file. While it's not as easy to tell when watching "HDTV" on a iPhone or iPod. When you have a 50in TV and a 5.1 stereo, you can tell.

    Steve Jobs' motto should be, "Compressed media, through earbuds, it's good enough."

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:21AM (#33662966) Homepage Journal

    I have an installer, I have the game files

    The installer requires a connection to a server that Activision Blizzard can shut down at any time.

    If you so desire, you can burn everything that you "do not own" over to a disc and voila! you now have a physical representation of your ownership.

    How does this store the state of Internet activation of the copies that you own?

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:26AM (#33663066)

    Perhaps that's why he said it was a story. Maybe a better word would be "fable". None the less, the anecdote is still good even if the science isn't.

  • by Tha_Big_Guy23 ( 603419 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:27AM (#33663072)

    The point of HD is high quality, right?

    Exactly! And the Blu-Ray format was invented to allow more storage on a physical disc media. Thus, you have the storage available to put an entire movie in High Definition on it(~10 - ~30Gb).

    I have the fastest available broadband in my area(18Mbps down). To download an entire high def movie in that size would take significantly longer than I would want to wait in front of my television for it. I bought my Blu-ray player for the quality. If I'm going to be forced to download the same content, I expect, and demand, the same quality.

    Also, let us not forget about the fact that a sizable portion of the US is still running on dial-up, so downloading a high definition movie is completely out of the question.

    Unless the content providers are willing to invest heavily in the broadband infrastructure of the country then physical media like Blu-Ray is here to stay, at least for the next several years.

  • Re:Headline wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blacklaw ( 311963 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:28AM (#33663096) Homepage Journal

    Technically, the guy says that he predicts the format is dying (i.e. bluray is currently in use but he forsees the day that his approach, downloads, will overtake physical media). He doesn't actually say that it's dead (past tense) like the headline states.

    But "Xbox Head Proclaims Blu-ray Dying" doesn't rhyme...

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:33AM (#33663176) Homepage Journal

    We've got three XBox 360s in the house, and we buy a lot more Bluray movies than we do XBox games. So much for how the physical media balance out. As for streaming, we only stream when we *can't* buy, because the quality is never even close to that of Bluray, and of course, if the connection goes down, as happens from time to time, you're screwed.

    It seems to me that between the cost of the high speed connection, the cost of the rental, the fact that it's gone after you watch it, the quality is lower, you can't lend it, you can't significantly time-shift it, and the fact that it can and does fail... that if you do prefer streaming, you're simply not a very picky viewer.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:34AM (#33663190) Homepage Journal

    I mean DVDs are still being sold by the millions so why I believe BlueRay fills a needed market, that market is just shrinking like crazy.

    Blu-ray isn't selling well because it's too high priced. I can get brand new DVDs for $5 at Wal Mart, the cheapest Blu-rays are four times that, and new releases are twice what a new DVD release is -- for a piece of plastic! It doesn't cost much if any more to manufacture a Blu-Ray than a DVD. And there are still more low-def TVs out there that Blu-ray will look identical to DVD on than there are hi-defs. I don't know very many people at all with hi-def TVs, while I know a LOT of people still watching CRTs. Hell, I paid $1,000 for my flat 42 inch CRT eight years ago, and I'll watch the damned thing until the tube burns out.

    DVD was a clear winner over VHS; far better picture even on the lowest end display, better fast forward/rewind, jump to scenes, etc. The hardware wasn't much more expensive (and just as cheap later on) and the media was priced the same. Not so with BluRay. In fact, someone with a CRT who buys a blu-ray on the promise of a better picture is going to badmouth it to everyone he knows, as well as the people without BluRay players who buy BluRays not noticing or knowing it won't play in their DVD player.

    To shell out twice what I paid for my TV for a TV with a smaller screen, even though it has a sharper picture, seems pretty dumb to me. I actually have to work work for a living, and beer ain't cheap either.

  • by hymie! ( 95907 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:37AM (#33663248)

    There wasn't really a boy who cried "Wolf" either. But it's a useful parable to describe a situation.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by norminator ( 784674 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:41AM (#33663338)
    I just purchased my first HDTV and Blu-Ray player a couple of months ago, and I had always thought that Blu-Ray wouldn't stick around long. Now I feel differently. While streaming video à la NetFlix is convenient, the quality is just not there. There's no 5.1 audio from NetFlix, for example, and the video quality depends way too much on the quality of the internet connection. I have decent quality cable internet service, but my Blu-Ray player still chokes on HD NetFlix streams, leaving me with an HD resolution video that's compressed so badly that its quality pales in comparison to SD streams.

    A lot of the USA has much worse internet service than I have. I know that things will continue to get better on that front, but I think it will be quite a while before streaming media has enough quality for enough people to make them want to abandon the security and reliability of physical media.

    Also, The streaming model works fine for shows that you'll only care about watching once, or for discovering new shows that you wouldn't otherwise take the effort to buy/rent the disc for, but I think people are more inclined to buy movies that they really like. If you're a huge Napoleon Dynamite fan, or if your daughter loves a certain Disney princess movie, you're not going to want to pay $3 to "rent" the movie every time you want to see it (or see a part of it), and you don't want to depend on Netflix or Hulu, since their streaming catalogs are very limited, and some shows come and go.
  • by Wannabe Code Monkey ( 638617 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:01PM (#33663800)

    That's an urban legend. Please stop spreading it.

    Perhaps you forgot to read this part of the linked page:

    Like a fable, the "boiled frog" anecdote serves its purpose whether or not it's based upon something that is literally true.

    I suppose if someone referenced the tortoise and the hare, you would respond that it is ridiculous to believe that a swift hare would actually lose a race to a slow moving tortoise by taking a nap halfway through.

  • by The Grim Reefer2 ( 1195989 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:04PM (#33663862)

    There wasn't really a boy who cried "Wolf" either. But it's a useful parable to describe a situation.

    Never use the same lie more than two times?

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:05PM (#33663874)

    I love Blu-Ray. I love having a physical copy of my movies, that have a higher bitrate and quality than those sent via Net Flix and iTunes.

    I will ALWAYS side with owning a copy on disc, as long as the disc contains a superior quality product, and I can own my disc.

    Be it movie, or game.... I want a physical version that I can load or unload onto my own media server as I see fit, or sell to someone else on a whim etc.

    Downloadable services have their place, but none of them include ownership of the films. Games yes, but games are a complex issue as many of them require online servers to play. Unfortunately many games do not provide you with the server code, or the match making applications used by the game companies networks. This hurts classic gaming.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by llZENll ( 545605 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:19PM (#33664138)

    "All that being said, I'll agree that Blu-Ray is likely the last (or the second to last) optical media standard that will ever hit mainstream status."

    Doubtful, I don't know how much storage is required for a holographic two hour presentation, but I would guess a hell of a lot more than 50GB. Physical media has always been a magnitudes faster than downloading for consumers, technology pushes both every year and will for the foreseeable future, until we can download a lifelike experience in a matter of seconds, we will have physical media. Since we don't even have close to the technology to even display it yet, the death of physical media is many years or perhaps decades away.

  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:20PM (#33666194)

    He famously stopped putting floppies in Macs (1999), when people still needed floppies to trade work files, or to access older archived software, or to revive dead systems, thereby forcing Mac users to spend extra for an external drive. NOW it looks like he's doing the same with DVDs and Blurays - declaring them as "not needed" when they still ARE needed.

    And today? Still using floppies?

  • by TigerTime ( 626140 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:42PM (#33666538)

    {sarcasm} Which makes me wonder....why do macs have an optical drive at all? If BluRay is dead/dying, then CD and DVD are just as much so if not more. So just quit putting them in the computers at all. {/sarcasm} ...this has nothing to do with a format dying, and everything to do with Apple and Microsoft pushing their respective technologies. If HD-DVD won the HD disk battle, do you seriously think they'd be saying the format is dead?

  • by DrGamez ( 1134281 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @02:53PM (#33666694)
    Wouldn't we eventually hurdle out of the solar system?

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner