The coming launch of Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 3 game console will put more focus on the Blu-ray disc format, but don’t expect a resolution to “the format wars” over high-definition video discs, said Peter Chernin, the president and chief operating officer of News Corp.
“I’ve been talking to all of the electronics manufacturers on both sides of the format wars,” Chernin said. “I don’t think there’s likely to be a quick resolution, I think the resolution, if it comes, is likely to be driven by the marketplace.” His comments came Thursday during a conference call with reporters and analysts.
News Corp., which owns 20th Century Fox, has so far only released movies on Blu-ray, which counts Sony and Samsung Electronics among its backers. The company has not announced plans to release films on HD-DVD, the competing format, which is backed by Toshiba Corp. and many others.
While HD-DVD was the first format to hit the market with players and content, these are still early days, Chernin said. “Right now you have a tiny, tiny number of players out there at very high prices,” he said. “Most of the HD-DVD players are at the $1,000 range and you’re going to see a huge number of Blu-ray players entering the marketplace through PlayStation 3.”
The release of PlayStation 3, set to happen in Japan on Nov. 11 and the U.S., Hong Kong, and Taiwan on Nov. 17, will put “some focus” on Blu-ray, Chernin said. “The marketplace will start getting interesting as PlayStation 3 starts hitting the marketplace,” he said, adding that a negotiated settlement between backers of the competing format is not likely to happen.
“Unification, if it comes, is going to be driven by the marketplace,” Chernin said.