In a World without PS3, HD DVD Would Rule

One of the biggest “ifs” in the next-gen disc war is merely a game. A game console, to be exact. If it weren’t for Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console, the HD DVD disc format would likely be far in front in the next-gen disc player market in all regions of the world.

According to the latest annual report from industry analyst DisplaySearch, console-related hardware for both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc showed revenue growth more than three times greater than both formats’ standalone players from the second to the third quarter of 2007.

But with a 64 percent market share in North America, Toshiba’s standalone HD DVD player units consistently outsold Blu-ray standalone players from Sony and other makers, which are more expensive. As usual, it seems the real killer for HD DVD proponents is the simple fact that each PS3 console comes equipped with an internal Blu-ray drive—while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 does not, and the Wii console, albeit popular, has no next-gen disc capabilities whatsoever. Therefore, the Blu-ray camp can rightly claim many hundreds of thousands’ more players in the hands of users today than the other side.

“The continued reliance on the [game] console market indicates that the standalone Next Generation DVD segment remains in its early stages worldwide,” according to DisplaySearch, based in Austin, Texas. Sony, the chief Blu-ray proponent, captured a whopping 93 percent of the Blu-ray player market (both game consoles and standalones) in the first three quarters of last year, DisplaySearch said, and that trend is likely to continue.