More interesting news via Next Gen; this time covering speculation that Sony is actually more concerned about Blu-ray (and beating Toshiba’s HD-DVD) than it is about competition from Xbox. Take this along with my assertion that Microsoft sees Xbox as primarily a defense of its home computing monopoly, and games start to feel rather extraneous to the upcoming console war.
Anyway, Next Gen presents some good reasons for Sony to be concerned about HD-DVD. Michael Pachter speculates that, in a successful scenario, Blu-ray could be worth $2B/year in royalties to Sony. Much-needed cash for a company that derives an uncomfortably huge percentage of its profit from just its games division. Then again, given that huge percentage, one finds it hard to believe that Sony would discount the importance of the PS3. If the 360 fails, Microsoft still has Windows. If the PS3 fails, Sony has… not quite so much.
And that’s my point. I don’t believe you can meaningfully distill Sony’s battle plan into something as simple as “win Blu-ray!” The PS3 is important to Sony’s future. Blu-ray is important to Sony’s future. It’s all tied up together, and I’ll bet that creates some really interesting tensions within the company.
Nintendo’s strategy keeps looking good to me. Let Microsoft and Sony kill each other in the high end market, fighting wars that don’t all relate specifically to games. Perhaps any consumer who wishes to own two consoles will opt for a PS3 or a 360… and the Revolution. It’ll be cheap enough, and it’ll have a bunch of innovative games that you can’t play on the other consoles.