Reading Microsoft's response in the Financial Times (requires registration) cynically, one can't help but wonder whether the Redmond-based company wishes Sony had kept it's yap shut. "We have made no such announcement," said Microsoft. "Games are what are driving consumers to purchase game consoles and we remain focused on providing the largest library of blockbuster games available." Which they have, if we judge purely on the basis of software units moved.
The questions now, as I see them, are as follows:
- Does Microsoft view Blu-ray as critical technology in terms of high definition (and true 1080p) hardware video playback? I think the answer to this comes down to where Sony's surge in PS3 sales in January came from, and whether that surge continues in the absence of corresponding video game sales.
- Does Microsoft recognize that doing 1080p -- even streaming -- by download as opposed to physical media is a fool's errand for another half decade (or longer)? Downloadable content as complementary = fabulous. But downloadable content as stand-in for physical media is insanity. Unless you want to also bundle in a cheap 10 Terabyte drive. Lost Season Three alone could probably fill up a good sized chunk of a 1 Terabyte spindle (and don't try to convince me I don't need 1080p -- I do, and I'm not going back, thanks for asking).