Backup console DVDs

The video game market, with the emergence of several new consoles, has finally welcomed the DVD format into its world. Sony first started the industry talking about DVD with its PlayStation 2, but it wasn't until May that Nintendo and Microsoft hopped on the bandwagon as well at E3--the ultimate game tradeshow--where they exhibited their latest wares. What does this mean for replicators that are struggling to fill their DVD lines? While the replication of these DVD-based video games are not maxing out the existing replication capacity; their existence is still good news. Although only a handful of manufacturers are actually replicating the actual game DVDs, there are still some positive residual effects that are felt throughout the DVD industry.

PlayStation 2 and the Xbox take slightly different tacks with regard to their discs. Thus far, PlayStation 2 uses DVD-5 discs, while Xbox's discs will be DVD-9. And while most of the current PlayStation 2 games are on CD, and Xbox games will be DVD. Hurley says that the trend toward DVD is happening with PlayStation 2 as well, whereas 70-percent of the games produced last year were on CD, this year the figure is edging closer to 50/50 CD/DVD.

Game DVDs are technically no different than DVD-Video discs, but there are some special requirements that exist mainly to protect content. When asked, one replicator offered some general information. "The content will be fed from a proprietary piece of equipment to the laser beam recorder (LBR). We won't even use the existing feed systems, therefore we are going to get the coded type of master file that is going to come down from a unique piece of hardware. We'll burn the disc, and when the discs are replicated there will be some unique quality control tools that will decipher and decode to make sure what we manufacture is the correct product from a quality standpoint." At the time of this writing, it appears as if Xbox titles will be packaged in Amaray boxes, possibly with some variation.

While Sony's PS2 and Microsoft's Xbox utilize "standard" DVD discs, Nintendo's GameCube disc is a totally different animal. Developed my Matsushita (Panasonic), the disc condenses 1.5GB of Data onto an 8cm disc. "The reason that Nintendo chose the smaller-sized disc was to prevent copying," says a spokesperson at the company. "Also, they wanted to keep the product game-specific, and not have it double as a DVD or CD player, since games are Nintendo's forte."

As for packaging, Nintendo is expected to use a package created by Clear-Vu Products called Zenithpac. Zenithpac, customized for Nintendo, uses a magnetic decoupling system that company sources say is quick and effortless to use at the checkout. The company describes it as a deadbolt lock put inside to packaging. "The only way that you can get through this package is with a knife," says Grace Consoli, product manager. The locks are reusable, and by tagging the lock instead of the case, EAS tags can be used. The package is the same size as a traditional Amaray box..."

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