Sony's PS3 to use Blu-ray Disc

Company hopes move will help jump-start market for new high-storage format.

Sony officials will use Blu-ray Disc technology in their next-generation console, most commonly referred to as the PlayStation 3.

Sony revealed its decision at a press conference in Tokyo this week held by the Blu-ray Disc Founders, an organization committed to developing and standardizing the next-generation optical disc format, the Kyodo News reported. The BDF also used the occasion to announce that it will finalize the specifications for the read-only version of Blu-ray Discs, or BD-ROMs, by Sept. 30.

Sony has been investing heavily in Blu-ray product development and was the first company to have a disc recorder on the market. Sony had previously hinted it might use the format in the PS3. Kiyoshi Nishitani, Sony's Blu-ray Disc R&D division chief, commented in an interview with Asahi PC magazine in March that the company would like to establish ground in the Blu-ray Disc market by adopting BD-ROMs for its "home video game console."

The Blu-ray Disc Founders organization is made up of Sony, Panasonic and 11 other major electronics makers. Like its predecessor, the DVD, the BD-ROM will primarily be used for movies. The companies plan to start marketing Blu-ray Disc playback machines (without recording capabilities) by the end of the fiscal year.

Sony is relying heavily on the Blu-ray Disc format, so from the company's point of view, the use of Blu-ray as the market standard in next-generation media is vital, especially since Sony also publishes movies through its Sony Pictures subsidiary. Adopting the Blu-ray Disc for the PS3 should help spread use of the format, similar to what the PlayStation 2 did for DVDs.

Early expansion of the Blu-ray format would be ideal for Sony, considering it will have to compete with high-definition DVDs in the future. Blu-ray Discs can hold 25GB on a single layer and 50GB on the dual-layer discs, while HD DVD discs--which have yet to be released--will hold only 30GB on a dual-layered disc.

Sony said it will reveal more details on the PlayStation 3 at a premiere event in Japan on March 31, 2005. The console will also be on display at next year's E3 confab in Los Angeles.

Hirohiko Niizumi writes for Gamespot.


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