‘Who needs Blu-ray?’ asks Microsoft executive
Stephen McGill, UK boss of Xbox and entertainment says Sony’s format is dead
It may just be bravado, but a senior figure in Microsoft has declared Blu-ray dead, before it has really got started. And the murderer is that arch-nemesis of film and music publishing: the download.
Stephen McGill, Microsoft's UK boss of 'Xbox and Entertainment', says most users will leapfrog over the HD format as they move straight from DVD to high-quality downloads.
He told Xbox fan site Xbox360Achievements.org that there were no plans to create a new version of the console with an integral Blu-ray drive to replace the existing DVD drive.
"I think people may have spoken about that originally, but that's long gone," McGill told the site. "Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format.
"People have moved through DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full high-definition 1080p Blu-ray streaming instantly, no download, no delay," he added. "So who needs Blu-ray?"
Of course, he would say that. Microsoft supported a rival format to Blu-ray, HD-DVD. It didn't cut the mustard and the industry decided to press ahead with Blu-ray – which was backed by Microsoft's rival, the Sony Corporation.
And Blu-ray sales are still increasing – by 50 per cent in the past year. So far in 2010, around 15.6m discs have been sold in the UK. That may sound good, but only until you learn that DVD still outsells Blu-ray by almost 10 to one.
If McGill is right, it looks like bad luck once more for Sony. In the 1980s, the Japanese company famously backed another loser, Betamax video cassettes, against VHS. In the 1990s they backed MiniDisc, which also flopped. Now, just when Sony thinks it's finally got a winning format, Microsoft seems ready to rain on their parade again. ·
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