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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Putting Blu-ray in PS3 is "Smartest Decision We Ever Made"

Those critical of the PlayStation 3?s price often point to the Blu-ray Drive components as culprits for the system?s spendiness. Not only has the inclusion of Blu-ray into PlayStation 3?s spec driven up the bill of materials cost, it?s also much to blame for the initial shortage of consoles at launch and the delayed release into Europe and Australia.

Sony said recently that it plans to have shortage problems solved by May. ?The blue laser diode, as you well know, had a blip short-term ramp up issue, which is now past; that's now behind us,? said Phil Harrison, SCE Worldwide Studios, in a GameDaily interview. ?That did cause us some challenges in being able to supply the launch worldwide, but that's all resolved.?

Some consumers clamor on Internet forums that the Blu-ray Drive?s added cost is nothing but another effort for Sony to sneak its HD format into the homes of consumers, and that Sony should remove Blu-ray functionality from the console and offer it as an add-on. Of course, such arguments seem to ignore that PS3 games also run off of blue laser media, and that the Blu-ray format can do more than just movies.

?We needed to have Blu-ray disc from a game design point of view. The chipsets in PS3 chew through data at such a rate that in order to build variety and detail and quality into the games, we need more than nine gigabytes,? Harrison added. ?Now, the fact that we could also adopt the preeminent next generation movie format into PS3 was an added bonus, not an added cost.?

Every new PlayStation generation features the latest in optical disc technology. The original PlayStation used optical media when Nintendo was still firmly planted into cartridges. The PlayStation 2 brought affordable DVD players into millions of homes. And the PlayStation 3 makes the generational jump to Blu-ray Disc.

Admittedly, the inclusion of the newest optical format has plagued the latest PlayStation more than formats of past, but Sony remains confident in the decision. ?No regrets whatsoever, and it's those kinds of decisions, painful though they were to live through in the last quarter of 2006, those are the decisions that are going to propel PlayStation 3 to be a platform that lasts for ten years, like we've seen with PS1 and PS2,? Harrison said. ?And it will be, I believe, reflected on as the smartest decision we ever made.?

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