The format war. It's over. Done. Break out the blue victory hats and Curaçao, right? Wrong. There won't be a Blu-ray victory party. Don't take my word for it? How about Sony Electronics CEO Stan Glasgow's? "From our perspective, the battle really begins now." Now that HD DVD is dispatched, the members of Team Blu-ray can start fighting standard-def DVDs, digital downloads, consumer apathy, the Chinese and-of course-each other. Here's the current state of Blu-ray, post-war edition:
It's been discussed at length how brutal this contest was for Toshiba. But the Blu-ray members in the victory circle are licking some pretty serious wounds, too. Sony basically bet their entire company on the format-plowing over a billion dollars into the PS3 trojan horse, plus, as far as we know, another half billion on largesse for studios to put on Blu's stripes, for starters.
Chris Walker, Pioneer's senior product manager for Blu-ray told us he thought that the format war "affected Blu-ray prices substantially," and that "for a new technology to drop the prices by half within a year of coming out" seriously hurt everyone involved. People are still ready to complain about the relatively high price of Blu-ray players, but they are way lower than the manufacturers had planned, and now they can't recoup the high fixed development costs they would have with higher price tags during the first couple years on the market. DVD players were stratospherically priced for several years.