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David Poland

By David Poland

When Harry Left Sony

The central reason for Sony to be part of the MGM acquisition in the first place was to acquire the MGM library to force the issue on Blu-Ray vs what was then Red-Ray and is now known as HD-DVD.

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20 Responses to “When Harry Left Sony”

  1. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I love that BI2 only made $5.7mil. That’s gold. I’m extremely sad that Romance & Cigarettes and The Woods haven’t been released yet. And the reason YM&O flopped everywhere else in the world? Apart from it being awful, it probably didn’t help being released at the same time or after Cheaper By the Dozen 2. I know in Australia it barely made the top 10 during school holidays, which is sort of hilarious because even the worst kids fare can make Top 5 during school hols.

  2. EDouglas says:

    Yeah! I can’t wait to buy Stealth on Blu-Ray!
    (Oh, did I say that aloud?)

  3. Tofu says:

    Only 5% of the population owns HDTV.
    The PS3 that plays Blu-Ray will be $600.
    The Nintendo Wii will be under $250.
    … Can we say up the creek?

  4. Wrecktum says:

    I’l never understand what Sony received when they “bought” MGM. The potential to licence MGM titles on BluRay? The Bond franchise? 20% ownership in what is essentially a startup?
    $1 billion seems like a lot for one established franchise and a lot of unknowns. Say what you want about the Disney purchase of Pixar (overvalued according to Poland): at least they knew exactly what they were getting.

  5. palmtree says:

    Yeah, pricetag on PS2 was originally higher too…I wonder if they were able to sell any of them?
    I’m as excited about Wii as anyone else, but it comes down to the games, not just being able to afford it. HD is not big now but in ten years you won’t remember not having it.

  6. Lynn says:

    It would be nice if Sony got cracking with Warner/NL to make a deal on The Hobbit… it’s not making anybody any money just sitting there. Hrmph.
    As to Blu Ray… I dunno, they can have any titles they want, but there still isn’t a machine to play them on in the hands of a single consumer, and the one you can “pre order” is $999. HD DVD is already out and you can buy a machine for $499.
    By the time the Blu Ray gaming console comes out, the battle may be over. Things could shift, but, I dunno, HD-DVD is creating what they call “facts on the ground” while Blu Ray is trying to get its act together.
    For me… I have an HDTV and would really like to see this all end, because until it does, I’m not buying a damn thing — including any more standard def DVDs I don’t absolutely have to see right now that Netflix doesn’t carry (e.g., KoH directors’ cut). As far as I’m concerned, a pox on both their houses for not sorting this out in the first place. Why did we have to repeat the VHS/Beta stupidity two decades later?
    (Yes, I know the answer… but still. Stupid.)

  7. Tofu says:

    PS2 was always stated as $300 at launch, just like the PS1. The Blu-Ray PS3 will be twice that, at $600.
    The games will also being $10 to $20 more. The PS2 was the first videogame system to play movies (outside of the failed CD-i), and this was three years after DVD had launched. The first million seller, The Matrix, was already out, and Gladiator was to be released a month later. The format had already been accepted.
    This is not the outlook Sony likely had imagined coming out of E3 2006.

  8. Krazy Eyes says:

    Yes, Sony had a hard time of it at E3 but I suspect they’re going to manage just fine.
    The launch price of the console is being inflated due to the high cost of the blu-ray technology. For people who just want the console to play games they might be better served waiting or going with one of the other systems. For people who want to play games *and* get a hi-def DVD system it’s a huge bargain considering the prices of stand-alone players.
    I also suspect we’ll see much faster price drops with the PS3 as the cost of blu-ray goes down. They’re going to need to lower the price substantially before they start accessing the average consumer.

  9. THX5334 says:

    I beg to differ. I was at E3 and talking behind the scenes with many high end videogame developers and publishers. And the general consensus in the gaming industry and among gamers is that PS3 is too expensive.
    Here is what you are all missing in this discussion:
    In terms of gamers being the early adopters of technology – Most of the industry people I talked to at E3 felt that Sony and the PS3 did not offer a gaming experience that seemed superior to second generation XBox 360 games. The exception being Assasin’s Creed and Metal Gear Solid Four.
    Many gamers do not feel that those two games did not justify paying $200 more for a premium PS3 ($600) a premium XBox 360 ($400).
    (How about the fact that you HAVE to buy the higer priced model to get HDMI output and Wi-Fi?!)
    Microsoft and XBox 360 not only have the Halo franchise as an exclusive flagship system selling title, but they also paid Rockstar publishing a ton of cash to break it’s exclusivity deal with Sony on the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
    The fact that you will be able to get GTA IV for the XBox 360 the same day as PS3, REALLY hurt Sony.
    The only franchise they really have for their system is Metal Gear Solid, and the Final Fantasy series.
    Actually, there is a lot of value in their God of War franchise, but the second game is already coming out on the PS2 (that is an amazing game)
    There was incredible excitement over the Nintendo Wii.
    Many gamers are going to go with what Peter Moore, exec VP of Microsoft said: For $600 you can own a premium XBox 360 AND a Nintendo Wii. Why buy one overpriced console when you can own two?
    Sony is screwing themselves with the PS3 by banking on Blu-Ray. That alone is what jacked the console price to $600
    Bottom line – PS3 did not display any games (save for the two mentioned) that looked justifiably better than what XBox 360 is coming out with on a machine that is $200 less, and has a phenomenal online component.
    I know I probably sound like an XBox fanboy. I’m not. I’m a gamer and own all the consoles. I love Sony and I will buy a PS3 – when they drop the price of a console to an affordable price point.
    Until then, I and would argue a majority of the gaming population will forego the PS3 first round because of it’s price, and instead opt for an XBox 360 and a Nintendo Wii.
    (Microsoft also will be releasing an HD-DVD add on for the XBox 360. So unless Blu-Ray gives you something HD-DVD doesn’t (extra 20 gigs of storage right?), Buying the PS3 is going to come down to the games. And they don’t even have Grand Theft Auto exclusivity anymore….
    The PS3 launch is going to significantly hurt Sony, and many in the film side of the game are not seeing this piece of the puzzle.
    Bottom line on the PS3, it’s just too damn expensive for what you’re getting.
    And it’s all because of Blu-Ray.

  10. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Don’t forget that Fox has distributed MGM releases overseas for the last 3-4 years.

  11. Krazy Eyes says:

    THX . . . you’re not really differing with me at all. As I said above, if all you’re looking for is a game console then, yes, I’d probably go with one or the other systems. I have a very nice HDTV set-up and I’m really looking forward to getting both a next-gen game console *and* a Blu-Ray player. Neither of the other two consoles provide this.*
    *I know, MS has announced an add-on HD-DVD player but combined they’ll probably cost as much, if not more, than a PS3 so I don’t see that asa plus for the 360.

  12. palmtree says:

    You can get PS3 with Bluray for $500…$600 is the price point for other features.

  13. Tofu says:

    The $500 model doesn’t have HDMI support, meaning the HD picture is going to be cut in half, meaning… Well, that it isn’t HD.
    We’re not even for sure how the picture would correctly come out, if it will at all on Blu-Ray.

  14. THX5334 says:

    The big difference between the two is that the XBox 360 is scaleable (sp?) hardware. Not many people can drop $600 at once on a console. But if you already own a 360, whether it’s the core system (which is upgradable to a premium system) with just the add-on HD-DVD or you have the premium system with the Add-on…
    Yes, in the end they end up costing the same (if you have a premium system + HD-DVD) but if you’re a 360 owner, it’s a “choice” and if you choose to get one, you’re only dropping $200 at the time of purchase rather than $600.
    That is the big difference.
    But the other reason why Blu-Ray is not going to work, is as the poster above stated:
    Less than 5% of households have an HDTV. So how many average gamers are going to drop $600 on a console they can’t utilize because they don’t have the right TV for it? Or a grand for just the Blu-Ray player?
    But to take it a step further, the general public doesn’t really WANT this technology. People are happy with DVD’s. The studio/conglomerates are pushing it on us, simply to create another ancillary market.
    And the reason why Blu-Ray will not prevail and HD-DVD will win the format war?
    The name. Period.
    My mother and the average Joe will understand what “HD-DVD” is. It’s “High-Definition” DVD. It’s really easy for the common consumer to assimilate as to what it is, and why i’ts better than DVD.
    Now, “Blu-Ray” is just screaming for a fifteen minute explanation as to what it is, why it’s better than DVD, why it’s better than HD-DVD. Then you’re explaining what gigs are, why the “blue” laser is better than the “red” laser, and storage space.
    The name is just a fucking headache, plain and simple.
    Common folk understand right away what HD-DVD is. Blu-Ray is going to take an explanation. And that is why HD-DVD will win.
    The name.
    Me? I hope to own it all. PS3, XBox 360, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray…

  15. jeffmcm says:

    That was why VHS won over Beta: more consumer-friendly, even if it had an inferior picture quality. Kind of makes you want to laugh at Sony.

  16. palmtree says:

    Yeah, especially since Sony was the one that went to the Supreme Court and fought for the right to even have VHS available.

  17. Krazy Eyes says:

    You make a lot of good points and I agree that Sony and Blu-Ray have a uphill battle ahead of them . . . a battle they very well may not win. Still, considering that the 1st-gen standalone Blu-Ray players will cost nearly $1000, I still think $600 is a pretty good deal for an early adopter. I don’t think the average consumer is going to bite at the PS3 for at least a year or more and I expect we’ll have seen a considerable price drop by that time.
    I do think you’re being way to nice to MS though. What you generaously call “scaleable,” I see has a handicapped system with some lame HD-DVD add-on. Add-ons such as this have never been a good thing in the history of electronics.

  18. THX5334 says:

    If you wanna talk hardware specs, then there is no argument the PS3 is the more powerful of the two.
    But what is handicapped about XBox? It may not have as powerful of architecture, but developers love that it is easy to program games for because it is such a PC based architecture.
    The PS3 is using completely new technology that many developers are finding challenging to code for.
    That is why arguably all the games the XBox 360 has coming out visually were just as good as the PS3, save for the two mentioned in the other post – it is MUCH easier to program for.
    Yes, $600 for a Blu-Ray machine, bundled with the latest gaming hardware, is a great deal.
    But it is still flatly too expensive as either a game console or a DVD player.
    Sony lost their Grand Theft Auto franchise exclusivity and their hardware is too expensive.
    This is going to propell sales of the XBox 360 and by the time the PS3 is at an affordable price where you and me will buy one, XBox will have the dominant numbers of consoles in homes and will win this round of console wars.
    Why do you think the Xbox 360 system is handicapped? The games looked just as incredible as the PS3 games, and they were playable!
    Also, the PS3 took out their rumble technology on the PS3 to shoddily rip off Nintendo’s new feature. I love Sony, but they just don’t have any games coming out at launch that makes me want to kill myself with work to afford that console.
    The fact that Sony is banking Blu-Ray on the PS3 is a potential disaster.
    It’ll be interesting to see how much the gaming market affects the film market and vice versa as the technologies to display and play your content get more uniform.

  19. Krazy Eyes says:

    I think the 360 is handicapped simply because it doesn’t currently play HD movies. I want both a game console and a true HD player and the PS3 is the only one that offers that right now. I’ll probaby pick up a PS3 at launch since for me it’s a great deal. If the 360 gets enough exclusives that interest me I’ll probably pick up one of them too.
    I’m often an early adopter with electronics though so $600 isn’t really a big deal to me.

  20. THX5334 says:

    The fact that it’s an add on shouldn’t bother you. It’s no different than me swapping out my CD burner for a DVD Burner in my PC tower.
    Microsoft always planned on having some kind of HD movie service, the graphics card that is really needed for the image/data was always built. I believe (and I could be wrong) that Microsoft was waiting to see which format the studios supported.
    I’m sure the add-on for the 360 will be quality.
    Plus the other thing you’re not thinking about in terms of getting a PS3 at launch (for the general consumer, not you per se) is that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to be able to purchase a console by itself at launch nowadays.
    Most stores make a better profit on peripherals and software. There is no profit on the consoles because even the makers are taking a huge loss, just to get the machine in the house because the $$$ is in software.
    So, all the stores at launch (including the big ones now like Wal-Mart and Best Buy) will only be selling bundle packages at launch. You will get your console, but you’ll also have to pick 2 to 3 games in some combination, plus a couple of peripherals. So when you add it up, with tax, you’re in for over a grand at least.
    Many bundles on the XBox 360 were in the very high 3 digit price range, with some even going as high as $1200.
    Can you imagine what the bundles are going to cost on a $600 console?
    You’re going to need a lot more than $600 to get into a PS3 in November at launch. If you have that kind of scratch, amen brutha! Good for you! I would buy one too if I did. But, the average gamer doesn’t even have close to that kind of cash.
    I am sure Sony will release fewer consoles at launch than even Microsoft to create shortages and report a high demand. But the actual numbers are not going to be as high as they were for the PS2.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

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