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Xbox: Better Late Than Never

27 May, 2013 By: Stephanie Prange

Last week’s announcement of the features for Microsoft’s new Xbox game console, dubbed the Xbox One, included some news that much of the press overlooked but is particularly interesting to our home entertainment audience. The Xbox One will include a Blu-ray Disc drive.

For a time, Xbox gamers could get an add-on drive with the competing (and now defunct) high-definition format HD DVD, but Blu-ray was the purview of the competing PlayStation 3. The PS3 was a major driver in Blu-ray’s victory in the high-def format war. It was a bitter loss for Microsoft.

But, as they say, if you can’t beat them, join them (even if you are pretty late to the party). Years after the end of the format war, Microsoft has finally accepted Blu-ray. It probably didn’t hurt that in the latest DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group numbers for the first quarter of 2013, Blu-ray Disc sales have finally begun to lift the overall disc sellthrough business. Disc sales, which had been trending downward for more than five years, were buoyed by a 28.5% increase in Blu-ray Disc sales, with overall packaged media sales up 2%, to $2.1 billion from $2 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

“Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device,” said Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business. “Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment.”

The fact that Blu-ray figures into Microsoft’s entertainment future is a testament to the format’s longevity and quality. With the capacity to handle superior video resolution, including 3D, Blu-ray Disc has proven to be a sturdy format, despite its early growing pains during a protracted format war.

It is perhaps comforting that there wasn’t more of a frenzy in the news about Microsoft’s adoption of Blu-ray. It shows the format without question is integral to entertainment. It’s here to stay.

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