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Xbox Head Proclaims Blu-ray Dead

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the he's-only-resting dept.

Microsoft 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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If indeed, truly sad news (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662468)

uh, what?

you might think that is the case but the consumer outcry for this would be enormous to say the least.

Oh, and it will never happen.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662568)

It has already begun [] . Do you really think they're going to stop with just PC games?

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662844)

>>>PC Game Digital Downloads Dramatically Outpace Retail Sales

Looks like the PS3, X360, and Wii will be the last game consoles I ever own. I'm not going to buy any future consoles that are disc-free and force me to RENT rather own my software (and which also means I can't sell the game Used when I'm sick of it).

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662888)

All that shows is that some people find it to be an acceptable trade off (and then it doesn't show that they will always find it to be an acceptable trade off).

Such evidence does nothing to demonstrate that it is some sort of logical end state.

I mean, if you want to talk about it starting, you need to go at least back to the first time someone chose to rent some media rather than buying it.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662892)

So, I do not own my copy of starcraft 2?

I have an installer, I have the game files, and in addition to this is also have a download mirror where I can download those at any time I want. The part here that is controlled by the publisher, the last part, is the only part which I do not have controll over, and so far that part has offered nothing but advantages.
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. And yes, thats only a representation, because youve always owned it.

Internet activation (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662966)

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?

frog in the cauldron (4, Insightful)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:frog in the cauldron (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662772)

The Wooky speaks truth.

Re:frog in the cauldron (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662796)

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

Re:frog in the cauldron (1, Troll)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662976)

You know what really happens when you throw a frog in a cauldron with boiling water? Its muscles contract and it will be unable to get out in time and boil alive.

However, if you gradually heat the water the frog will notice that the water has become an undesirable temperature and will get out before it boils.

I agree with your theory but your analogy is dead wrong.

Re:frog in the cauldron (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663030)

If you put a live [frog] in a cauldron with boiling water, he will leap out as soon as he touches the water.

Actually, the frog will probably die too quickly for it to be able to leap out, assuming that you've got the cauldron going at a proper boil.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662668)

Look around you. It already IS happening.

And today's kids that are growing up using services like Steam or DRM-laden music services will be used to it by the time it gets worse. Hell, the majority of the software I'm using right now, and the OS it's running on, are not and cannot be 'owned' by me, never mind if I bought it. We've already had instances of Amazon removing books from Kindles, and I would not be surprised if at some point soon Microsoft decides to remote-kill an OS in the future if you don't update it to a new version. "It's for your own good, and the good of the others on the internet" they will say.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662962)

Well ou say you can't sell the software, but if you still have original discs you must certainly CAN sell it. For example I still have my MS Office 97 laying in my drawer and could sell it on ebay if I wished. Ditto my ancient copy of Windows 3.1

>>>at some point soon Microsoft decides to remote-kill an OS in the future if you don't update it to a new version

That would royally piss off a lot of customers. Perhaps even enough that the CEO would need to hire protection from pissed-off people with guns.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662706)

The entertainment industry knows we have no where else to go. If they piss us off, we tend to get over it and the next generation of consumers won't know any better.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662536)

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.

Three words: get over it.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (2, Interesting)

akkornel (1800252) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662638)

I'm pretty sure that "Get over it" was the message when CDs came out, and yet we've got a resurgence of vinyl. Vive la differénce! Everybody wants something to hold and us and keep and love; media is not immune to that, and I am glad.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662788)

Three words: get over it.

Three words: go troll elsewhere.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662600)

Or we will decide copyright is too much of a hassle and more or less abandon it for private uses and limit its application for commercial use, effectively reclaiming some degree of sanity and efficiency (note, that's from OUR point of view, the people with the many votes)...

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662620)

"I will own nothing"

Really? Well, if your only current posessions are Blu-Rays, DVDs and CDs then I can see your point.

But then, in your nightmare future vision **you'll still have all the physical media you own now**

Also, you forgot about your home/clothes/other posessions.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662690)

As I made clear in my first sentence: "all my new media." Yes, I will still own all my *old* books and movies. But there will be a cutoff point at which all *new* books, movies, etc. will not be available in standard physical form.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662820)

That may be true. But how long before that physical movie/game disc you buy requires an internet connection to watch or use (i.e. it has to check in with the studio server for approval)? They're already doing that with physical copies of many PC games.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662860)

And the size of media files is increasing FAR FAR faster than the speed of Internet connections. It's great to tell someone to go download a 5 GB game with a 10 Mbit connection, but try doing it on a 1 Mbit connection (still very common outside of major cities) and see how quickly people complain.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662658)

Well, don't consume media made by dictators then. Seek out creative individuals and less controlling companies for your media consumption. Star Wars is a great story. But it's just a story and other stories will be (told and retold) by freer people.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662758)

>>>-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.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662852)

I'm glad you followed the lead from the summary and made a story about the head of the XBox division declaring Blu-Ray dead all about Steve Jobs.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662944)

I'm glad you perceive 40% of his post as "all about Steve Jobs".

He made a side note, which is kind of relevant.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662802)

In a sense, you are correct in that media publishers have always sought the advantage of being able to control access to their content so that they can charge you many times for the same thing. It's not enough that they can "print money" by charging excessively for that which cost them pennies to produce, now they want to charge repeatedly for things that cost an order of magnitude less to produce.

I have already said "goodbye" to paying for TV. With my last move, I was unsuccessful in bribing the cable internet installer to "forget to block the TV signal" which meant I was faced with (a) hacking on the physical cables and locking devices, (b) paying for the TV services or (c) doing without. I went with option (c). I would simply rather do without. Turns out that while I get fewer digital TV channels than I did with analog, I get some in hi-def and I can watch The Big Bang Theory for free. And while I don't get access to everything else I might want to see, I have found that I don't miss it as much as I thought I would and can do without just fine.

Getting away from the various sources of media has been an interesting experience and I find that it doesn't harm me in the least. On the contrary, I think it was actually good for me.

People are largely addicted to their media streams and are unaware of what their life might be like without all that noise to fill the empty moments and spaces. I'm here to say, it's not that bad! I got a new bicycle and I ride it. It's fun! Build things! Create things! This is how we used to entertain ourselves back in the day and it still seems to work.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33663028)

But when you build or create things you might be violating copyright laws! Think of the rights holders, man!

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662832)

Will not work because ISPs are moving toward caps, if they haven't already. In Canada, I am paying around 45 bucks a month for 7.5 megabit download speed and 60 GB cap. If I want to watch 3 BluRay movies a month, I am fucked, I just busted my cap.

Also, you really think people with no technical know how will wait 5+ hours to download one movie? Or how about people who have slower connections because they don't need anything faster? You really think Apple couldn't stream 1080p from their stores, yet they have gone 720p. Couldn't be because people have limited bandwith and patience?

The death of physical media has been greatly exaggerated!

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662926)

Look at the success of Redbox... 100% based on rapid gratification of a desire for physical media.

Netflix's business is still at least 75%+ based on physical media due to the limitations of streaming (lower quality than DVD, less portability, restricted availability of content.)

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662854)

As much as I agree with your post, the people who will make that happen will be us, the buyers, for putting up with their bullshit. They can't fund this without us.

Microsoft Still Bitter Over Sony Kicking Their Ass (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662870)

Microsoft backed the piece of shit technologically inferior HD-DVD format and got destroyed by Sony in the market.

This is nothing but inane crybaby sour grapes.

You really have to wonder if there is anyone who is involved with the Xbox fiasco at Microsoft who isn't a complete idiot like this latest clown running his mouth off. When you get beaten so badly by a competitor like Microsoft was by Sony you keep your damn mouth shut and don't remind the who damn world about the subject. Especially when Blu-Ray sales continue to grow rapidly and outpace the VHS to DVD transition.

You really have to wonder how much longer Microsoft will keep the clusterfuck that is their E&D division around much longer:

The 8 billion dollar Xbox fiasco
The completely forgettable Zune
The dead on arrival Microsoft cellphone OS

With Microsoft's failed search efforts now blowing through Xbox sized billions in losses you have to wonder which of the two will be first to get the axe.

Re:If indeed, truly sad news (1)

magloca (1404473) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662932)

What you describe is probably inevitable; we are certainly moving in that direction now. But I think people will eventually stop putting up with it. Either there will be a "peaceful revolution," where people start diverting their money to companies willing to provide entertainment and culture on more reasonable terms, or an "arms race" of stronger and stronger DRM and higher and higher prices on the one hand, and more and more widespread piracy on the other. Either way, unless we also move into a completely totalitarian society, the DRM-lovers can't win.

When Apple is involved, it's a show of solidarity. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662466)

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

Not only BluRay (2, Insightful)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662480)

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.

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662618)

As long as the majority of users are at leastreluctantly willing to purchase a digital download you won't have a choice much longer. The publishers will see it as a more than even trade if they keep 75% of their sales during move to digital downloads. The costs saved in production and distribution (you didn't really think they would pass those savings on did you?), the money saved by reducing piracy (if you can download a game, you must have broadband, therefore you should be able to sign in every time you play. Yes, even single player games), and the money saved by eliminating completely the 2nd hand market will all outshine any lost sales to the physical media hold outs. And once the change happens and there are no AAA titles on physical media how long do you really think the hold outs will last before they give in and start downloading their favorite games?

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662626)

Buy movie, $10

Buy a case and DVD/Blu-Ray of said movie, $6 shipped?

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662710)

What are you trying to say?
I really can't figure it out.

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662730)

I don't know either.

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662934)

Time to put down the grass. At least that's my problem when I make points on slashdot that make nooo sense... :D

physical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662726)

I know you mean physical, but I couldn't help laughing at the thought of psychical media (as you spelled it). I could rent a movie and watch it in my head...

Re:physical (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662762)

Whoops, my spell checker went overboard there :P

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662742)

Psychical media? You mean, downloading a movie into my brain?

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662786)

When physical media becomes as locked-down as digitally distributed files, then it will be dead for all meaningful intents and purposes, intensive or no.

And, oh look, we're almost there. Except that so far, only incompetent DRM has been used on physical media, the kind that presents no meaningful impediment to the public. When that changes, you'll either see an outcry, or you'll see physical media go away. My prediction is that the price gap between the two will widen so that by that point the public at large, instructed by the media personalities of the day, reject physical media entirely and embrace the "freedom" of not "needing" a hard piece of media.

Re:Not only BluRay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662954)

But I also see a use for psychical media.

Me too. It is sooooo much better than physical media.

I can use my psychical media to stalk my work mates in their booths.
I slowly let my psychical media creep up behind them...

and then .. BOO!

Totally freaks them out.
So much better than the old physical stuff.

Though I must admit the transition from records to tape to disc was kind of psycho.
Maybe that was just because of the clothes we were wearing and the shit that we were smokin' at the time.

C'est la vie

Re:Not only BluRay (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663042)

I use Amazon VOD...

Just a viewpoint from a primarily digital guy- Over the years I've always wanted a digital library of video. The thing stopping me was the overhead on storage of digital video. I had multiple terrabyte drives full of tv shows, and it started becoming overwhelming. I considered transcoding all my video to fit it better, but with my processor power, it was years of transcoding just to get a decent quality.

Enter the ROKU and Amazon VOD. I understand that they ultimately have the control and power over my library- but it's just so damn convenient to buy shows and movies on amazon VOD and just have them available to watch on my computer or roku whenever I want- no storage neccessary. I can authorize my laptop and download movies for a plane trip, and deauthorize the computer when I'm done. It's just so damn convenient, that I don't even bother with physical media any more.

Will this affect me negatively? perhaps some day. but until then, they've made a decent amount of cash off me due to convenience alone.

Hmm (5, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662512)

Eventually, yes...but I think optical media will still be around for a while.

Purely from a gaming perspective, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft includes Blu-Ray in its next Xbox. I doubt the next Xbox will be far enough in the future to support only digital downloads (due to ISP bandwith concerns), they won't be able to just stick with DVD9, and they would be pretty stupid to try to release their own optical format.

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.

Re:Hmm (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662632)

Perhaps cartridge-style flash media via USB?

Re:Hmm (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662890)

Return of the cartridge. We truly will have come full circle.

(Well, maybe full circle will be when you can go buy a book, or a magazine for computing which publishes the code which you can then enter in by hand)

Re:Hmm (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662900)

An ejectable SSD. By the time the 360 gets replaced, a 64GB SSD may be cheap enough to be "disposable". It would be faster than a spinning disk, with full random access. It could even store patches and gamesaves. Relatively indestructable, decent storage capacity, low latency, it's a good format, if possibly pricy.

So, maybe the last physical media will be a last hurrah for cartridges.

Of course they want physical media gone (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662514)

It's one step closer to the pay per play model. If people can't sell or give away their old titles, everyone will have to cough up.

Jobs obviously has a shitty home theatre if he believes the "HD" crap in itunes is acceptable on anything other than little screens, with low-fi sound systems.

Re:Of course they want physical media gone (3, Insightful)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662708)

Or he thinks we do.

Re:Of course they want physical media gone (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662920)

Or he doesn't care because people keep buying it anyway.

Re:Of course they want physical media gone (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662960)

Jobs obviously has a shitty home theatre if he believes the "HD" crap in itunes is acceptable on anything other than little screens, with low-fi sound systems.

That wasn't an impediment to MP3s. Heck, I remember when people were transcoding popular songs to midi.

MP3s offered much reduced sound quality (at first) in return for greatly enhanced transportability and convenience. There is a huge market of people who will only watch these things while sitting at their desk looking at their computer monitor.

While (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662518)

I believe it's the last spinning physical media device, it's not dead...

Re:While (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662810)

I believe it's the last spinning physical media device, it's not dead...

Excluding Hard drives of course. But that's not a generally 'shippable' item.

For a good portion of people, it will be. But what they also miss is that for a hell of a lot of people who will NEVER have access to broadband in the next 50 years, something similar will exist for them. There are a lot of people out there who live in the boonies (as of 2 years ago, I was one) and unless satellite really takes off, they are stuck with dialup (even cable isn't offered to a lot of people) Netflix was a godsend.

Even when Sony wins a proprietary format battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662520)

they still lose.

Digital life, and/or implementation headaches? (1)

akkornel (1800252) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662530)

I wonder, how much of the current position is "We want everything stored digitally, through us" (more Apple), and how much of it is "We're tired of having to constantly re-engineer large areas of the OS in order to meet the 'you must lock this down tight' requirements of the studios?" (more Microsoft?) ?

A Plus For Publishers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662538)

Only time will tell on that assertion. The publishers think eliminating the used market is a good idea, but good luck getting people to pay so much for a game if there's no resale possible. Also, they're working toward obsoleting themselves. When there's no physical medium to worry about, more studios can self-publish.

Re:A Plus For Publishers (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663006)

The self publishing thing would be my bet. A distributor like Amazon swoops in with easy to use tools and a massive online storefront, allowing you to publish directly to them and sell to the masses. Within a few short years the middle men of publishing will be gone.

Hard to argue with it. (1)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662554)

While Fry's is offering Civ5 for $39, I am still thinking of getting it off Stream for $49. Netflix is "good enough" and most of my other programs I get on the web (,, etc.)

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.

Re:Hard to argue with it. (2, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662646)

Why get Civ 5 on Steam? You can just activate it on Steam once you buy the physical copy.

Re:Hard to argue with it. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662838)

I know your question wasn't direct at me, but I did buy Civ V on steam rather than physical copy, so I feel I can answer your question (for myself, anyway)

Civ V is a game that I will never have any interest in reselling. Shooters, platformers, etc...sure. But a game that contains, for all intents and purposes, unlimited replay value? No reason to ever sell it.

In light of that, it makes no sense to have to keep track of a physical copy.

Re:Hard to argue with it. (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662714)

Why not order it off fry's and put the key into steam?

Re:Hard to argue with it. (0)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663016)

Why not order it off fry's and put the key into steam?

What is Fry's? Aren't they a brick and mortar store? I think the closest one to me is 1000 miles away. If they are online, why not steam?

Re:Hard to argue with it. (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662732)

I think it's more of many of us don't want to purchase a BluRay player. I don't have a PS3, and don't watch enough movies to make it worth my while to purchase a new drive. Streaming/Downloading (legally, of course) is simply much more convenient and easier.

Re:Hard to argue with it. (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662836)

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.

DVD has huge penetration already, and adequately fills most of the low end market for media distribution and storage. Bluray is still in kind of a high end specialty market that is being squashed. Unlike the switch to Bluray there is no extra cost to the consumer to start using digital downloaded media.

You're right in that the market exists. I don't think DVD or Bluray are in immediate danger of abandonment and death (Remember HD-DVD? That was tragically swift). But if only one of those formats is going to survive then I think at this point DVD has more staying power. It's the perfect format for cheap media distribution because everyone can already play it.

Confusing logic is confusing. (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662562)

Let me see if I can lay this out:

1) An Xbox exec claims that Blu-ray will be "passed over" as an HD format.
2) Author notes that Apple seems to agree, pushing consumers to use the iTunes store rather than make OEM Blu-ray drives available on Macs - even though the majority of iTunes-connected devices are not Macs, and most would agree Blu-ray for iPod Nano or even iPad would be odd.
3) ???
4) Argument in 1) is refuted by claims that gamers still like physical media, despite recent stats showing more PC gamers are buying downloads rather than physical copies of games.

What does the growth of downloaded games, games which are available only on CD / DVD in physical form, have to do with Blu-ray not succeeding as an HD format?

Re:Confusing logic is confusing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33663024)

I don't understand your logic in (2). The author's point is that Jobs refuses to put Blu-ray in Apple products where it would make sense to have it. Take your morning coffee, read slowly, and it won't be confusing.

Funny (1)

slaxative (1867220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662564)

Not very surprising. Of course Microsoft would say Blu Ray is dead. They also thought their HD-DVD format would succeed. They can just continue their trend of being incorrect. The movie aisle in any major department store would support the everlasting life of hard copy media.

At first I disagreed (1)

ozziegt (865751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662580)

At first I disagreed because I use Blu-Ray discs all the time, but then I realized that the only reason I use Blu-Ray discs is because there is a lot more selection on Netflix for Blu-Ray compared to the available titles on demand from Nextflix. If the same movies were available for HD on demand I wouldn't be getting the discs either. It seems to me, though, that currently the publishers are doing a pretty good job of keeping Blu-Ray alive because of aforementioned availability compared to on-demand titles. However when it comes to games, while it is convenient I don't think I would ever want to shell out $50 for a "virtual license" that I can't resell. And then there are those rare things that you always want to have on hand (for me, it's the Planet Earth series on blu-ray...only Blu-Ray movie that I own).

Figures don't lie (4, Informative)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662586)

The sales figures [] for blu-ray seem to indicate otherwise. Sales are up over 68% year over year, marketshare has nearly doubled year over year (2009 to 1020).

Of course there are dynamics at work outside of the straight consumer choice angle. There is the control afforded the media companies via downloadable media to consider as well. That may be what these guys are relying on for their opinion. The question then is whether the sheep are willing to follow where they are being led.

Re:Figures don't lie (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662794)

I agree with you, and the fact that broadband speeds have remained relatively flat in the US are another argument against streaming taking over. People buy blu-ray for the HD video and audio; streaming can't even offer surround sound currently. I like getting Indie movies and DVD-only movies via streaming, from Netflix -- because it's a free addition to my account with them.

The Xbox heads and the Apple heads talk about how streaming is going to be on top -- are they talking about buying a movie from iTunes but accessing it from your Xbox? Or buying it from Amazon and getting a free download to your iPhone? No, they're talking about locking in the consumer to their platform. Of course they're going to talk about the death of their competitors.

What, we expect them to say "Streaming is great for a select few, but it isn't a good way to make money and is limited by factors outside of our control." C'mon, they're in PR!

But what about quality? (1)

jr2k (1434921) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662588)

For movies anyways, some people can indeed tell the difference between streaming and proper blu-ray. Streaming just isn't going to be "good enough" for people that care about quality - or people that live where broadband is extremely expensive or unavailable.

Re:But what about quality? (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662776)

Streaming just isn't going to be "good enough" for people that care about quality

Agreed, but unfortunately we are a minority. Witness the fate of SACD, DVD-A and even CD in the face of MP3 and other lossy formats. Or the general acceptance of horribly low bit rate HD from pretty much every television programming source except OTA.

Studio greed will prolong physical media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662596)

Physical media will live much longer then it should especially for the rental market. The biggest competitor in rental is streaming, but for every stream the studio earns a royalty each time. For every disc they earn a royalty once, but this can be used hundreds of times. Studio greed dictate that they want a significant majority of the stream revenue and that stream cost the same as a rental. This only pushes the rental market to use physical media to be profitable.

ANd ti's not good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662602)

for the publisher to remove parallel economy.
People get done with the game and move on, other people in a different economic demographic then got your game. It's good for your brand, and if they would focus more on DLC, you have another market that can't buy 40+ for a game, but can afford the 5 bucks for a DLC.

This isn't hard.

About time. (4, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662604)

Now I can finally get of the fence and order my new HD DVD player! Awesome.

Passed by as a /High Definition/ format? (4, Insightful)

datajack (17285) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Majority of gamers prefer discs (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662648)

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

OK, that explains the console market, but for PCs, most games on disc contain DRM. Given that fact, I'm going to look at my options for digital downloads first, starting with Steam.

If the game is on Steam, I'll check the game page and look to see if it includes Third-party DRM, which is noted on the right side of the game page for those that have it. Example: Batman: Arkham Asylum [] .

If it does contain Third-Party DRM, I'll skip the game entirely, as likely every version of the game for PC has some form of DRM.

pope out on bail, old (1m yr.) bones turning up.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662654)

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Headline wrong (4, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662660)

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.

Pure Digital? (1)

daitengu (172781) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662700)

I don't think "pure digital" is going to catch on for quite some time. While many people like to download their content. Some people are still going to want everything a Blu-Ray disk provides. The extras, the commentary, etc. Digital downloads, from what I have seen, don't do this.

While I do have the habit of ripping all of my DVDs and Blu-Rays, and storing them on my massive media server because hard drives are cheap, I still prefer to have a physical copy. With limited programs that can play back ripped Blu-Rays with full menu support, sometimes it's just easier to pop it in a Blu-Ray player and enjoy.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tinkering, but when something goes wrong (it inevitably does), it's always when you're trying to play a movie for friends.

Just more sleight of hand (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662702)

This is nothing but wishful thinking and total bullshit. This is just a story to try and create a self-fulfilling prophecy by pulling the wool over the eyes of uninformed and ignorant consumers. Thankfully the rest of us know better and will see to it that this nonsense just goes away quietly.

I sorta agree, but (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662718)

Here's the thing. If I get a movie on BluRay, or DVD or a physical game, etc, then I know that if my system gets whacked then I still have the movie or game. As long as the media companies can change their policy at will, or like Apple tell you that sorry, no you can't re-download all your music even though you already paid for it: []

When we get into HD movies that I purchase (I will also rent, but there are a lot of movies and music that i want to own a copy of), I don't really want to have to backup multiple terabytes of information to ensure I don't lose something I bought, and I certainly don't want to rely on the media companies benevolence to let me get acces to something I already paid for, so for me, as much as I would prefer no media, I do not trust the media companies.

Personally I think I should have gotten some sort of discount for all the vinyl and VHS that I had when I re-purchased the same title on CD / DVD.

Re:I sorta agree, but (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662898)

Given your sig, I should think you would have a backup solution in place.

You do back up, I assume?

If your house burns down and destroys all your DVDs the store you bought them from isn;t going to let you replace them all for free - how is that different to an online store only allowing a download once? Once you have it, you should back it up (as Apple strongly suggests you do) so you don't lose it if your machine dies. Some places might let you redownload (steam does, for example), but bandwidth is not free so unless it's in the cost of the product it's not guaranteed.

Ask your ISP what they think (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662740)

I'm thinking some serious infrastructure, download cap, net neutrality, and just plain money issues are going to need to be addressed before the masses can download all their HD content.

Re:Ask your ISP what they think (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662912)

It will be along the lines of "How much bandwidth will consumers be forced to use? Sweet!" And then they'll charge more money for less bandwidth.

Oh wait.

Personal perspective (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662818)

Just to add my personal perspective on the digital vs physical media thing:

Legal downloaded content wins in the convenience stakes (let's leave piracy out of this for the moment; I've not done it for products available in my region for over a decade anyway). I've got a reasonable connection, so it takes less time for me to download the average game (say... 6 gigs) or high definition movie than it does for me to go out to the shops and buy it. As far as games go, high street retailers have made things even worse for themselves here by making shopping there such a miserable experience. No, I don't want to buy pre-owned. No, I don't want to pre-order stuff. I want to be able to walk into the shop, having a reasonable expectation that a title released within the last 6 months will be available there, and buy it.

Online physical retail (eg. Amazon) has some advantages; pretty much anything I want will be available somewhere and in theory all I have to do is click to buy it and wait for the postman. Unfortunately, in the UK at least, there's a bit of a flaw in this plan; the Royal Mail. Service quality across the country is highly patchy. My parents get a great mail service, with a reliable daily delivery and a postman they've known for years who knows what to do with a parcel if they're not in when he calls. Me? If I'm lucky, I get three deliveries a week. If it's a parcel, the postman may put it through the letterbox, but more likely he'll take it back to the depot, which means taking a 45 minute round trip on Saturday morning (the only time opening hours allow me to get there) to collect it. So while in theory this is as simple as a digital purchase, in reality there are far more pitfalls.

So is it a clear-cut case of digital distribution always winning for me? Not quite. There are two factors that can still drive me towards a physical purchase.

The first is DRM. With PC gaming, this is largely becoming a moot issue; toxic DRM looks like it's here to stay, unfortunately, and going for a physical copy does not protect you from it. In fact, in a small number of cases, the Steam version of a game (and I think Steam more or less falls on the right side of the acceptability threshold; certainly it's the least worst plausible option around) means you actually get a version without the worst of the restrictions in the physical copy. For movies, I really don't like what some of the online distributors are doing to their files these days. Sure, I don't like a lot of the stuff that happens when I put a Blu-Ray in my drive, but at least you can put a Blu-Ray disc in any compatible system and it will play. I bought a couple of anime episodes on a download-to-own basis from Funimation early last year and basically found that despite what they advertised on their website, it was basically impossible to transfer them to my new PC without repurchasing (this may or may not have changed since; I didn't feel inclined to give them any repeat custom).

The DRM issue is also tied in with the second-hand issue. It's not as big an issue for me as for others. I strongly object to the rip-off manner in which high street game retailers treat second hand games (which strikes me as exploitation of the gullible given the margins involved), so I don't trade in games. However, when I run short of shelf-space, I do tend to give away old games to friends, family and colleagues. Now granted, with Steam I never run short of shelf-space, but I'd still like to know that the option is there.

The other reason why I might go for a physical copy is more positive (and, in my opinion, represents the best hope for the survival of physical media); added value in the packaging. Call me vapid, but I actually like some of the stuff you can get bundled with the special editions of games and movies these days. I like tin boxes, glossy art-books, coins, all that kind of thing. I'm not quite sure that I'm smitten enough to go for the $150 collector's edition of Gran Turismo 5, but I can't deny it's tempting. If I were in the physical distribution business, I'd be focussing on this kind of added value stuff like crazy. Physical distribution is unlikely to ever be able to compete with digital on price, so quality of experience is the only way to go.

TL;DR version: digital has a lot of advantages for me, but I like shiny boxes and cloth maps, so I'm not quite ready to give up on physical entirely.

I have to agree (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662822)

I loved DVD when it came out and "Collected" movies for a while but soon realized it wasn't "Dvd" i loved, but how accessible dvds made movies to me.

Sold off my collection and have never bought a DVD, or a CD or a bluray since. On the CD front for less than the price of a CD at bestbuy i get unlimited access to songs on and can keep 10 a month non DRM in mp3 format. With Xbox live I can stream 1080p 5.1 digital videos and enjoy a movie in hi-def on my tv or computer or zune or windows phone 7. With netflix i can watch a ton of stuff and use be done with it.

I'd say the "media" is the least important thing of the content I enjoy. Being able to enjoy it anywhere and everywhere is much better than anything bluray/dvd/cd can offer :)

Digital copy more expensive than a physical copy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33662878)

"A recent survey suggested that the majority of gamers prefer physical discs"

When I bought Starcraft 2 the digital download cost twice as much as the physical copy. Saying that gamers prefer physical discs is probably not correct when they set prices like they do.

I prefer digital download if you get the right to download it again, and the price is the same or cheaper.

Still not buying it. (1)

hkdm (1721140) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662910)

While some of this may be true, I still believe that when businesses proclaim something as being "dead," they are trying to employ a psychological weapon on the consumer. That's not to say sales of Blu-rays is declining, or that the stats on digital copies are false, but rather this may be more so a method of making the consumer doubt the value of items sold by their competitors.

'Well, if Apple/Microsoft say it's dead, then it must be true! I'll put this BD back since they say that.'

HD in Bluray quality is dead as well (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#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."

Re:HD in Bluray quality is dead as well (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663020)

No no, it should be "640kb per sec should be enough for anybody"....

Not so fast. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#33662958)

I prefer physical copies of my games because I don't want to have to face the ordeal of having to download everything all over again if something happens to my system. But more importantly, I don't like being at the whim of an online retailer or publisher, worrying about my account expiring for whatever reason and no longer having access to something I've purchased. And I don't think broadband is still at the point for a lot of people where it's realistic downloading a game that would occupy the majority of a Blu-ray disc.

As for Blu-ray movies why the hell would I want compromised quality in the form of a download? It's one of the reasons why I prefer CDs over something like AAC format. I can tolerate it when I need the convenience of portability, but when I'm home why should I be subjected to poor quality audio or video? It would suck to end up in a situation where there were no options but downloading content online.

Just not *that* physical media (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663002)

The problem with BluRay specifically is that it eliminates most of the advantages of physical media. What's the point of having a physical disc if you still need to have internet access to play it? It's pretty much the same as PC games: why bother with the disc when you have to deal with the same DRM either way?

Back in early 00's... (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#33663008)

I worked as a consultant primarily with small and medium sized production houses who were transitioning from other editing platforms to Final Cut Pro and from SD to HD. They would ask, "Should I invest in Blu-ray or HD-DVD?" My answer would be neither. Those of us in the industry saw that by the time one format won out, it would remain dominate for 18 - 24 hours before everything went Digital Download anyway. And this was back in 2004. The only question would be the method of digital content delivery. Would it be a store like iTunes, would it be streaming through set top cable boxes (On Demand), or would it be some kind of web streaming service like Youtube or Hulu? Or would it be a combination of all? So far it's a combination of all.

I can't remember the last time I used my DVD player. I bought a Mac Mini in 2005 and hooked it up to my TV's DVI port and attached a 320 and now 1TB external harddrive to it. At the time, the apartment I lived in didn't have SciFi as part of the basic cable package. I purchased season 2 & 3 of Battlestar Galactica and quickly figured out for 2 months of the TV/Internet/Phone bundle I could buy all the TV programs I watched off iTunes and download them the next day . And the Quality of picture was good enough on my 32" TV.

That's what I did until Hulu came along. Then I just started watching the shows I wanted on it.

Most videographers I know are still creating regular DVD's and then if a client wants their movie in HD, they save it as an H.264 file onto a thumb drive or have the client provide an external HDD.

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