Microsoft came into this generation thinking that digital distribution was the key. They made a deal with Toshiba to attach an external HD-DVD player to their Xbox 360 knowing that it wasn’t a proven format. All didn’t go too well for Toshiba and their HD-DVD players as Sonys newer high definition format, Blu-ray, put HD-DVD out of business. Sony made a smart move by including a Blu-ray player in every PlayStation 3 that gave Blu-ray the boost it needed to gain ground and eventually surpass HD-DVD in sales. Blu-ray was the obvious victor here and continues to rise in sales and become more and more popular.
Now it wasn’t a loss for Microsoft because they knew HD-DVD wasn’t a proven format. Matter in fact, it was a very smart move to not include a HD-DVD player in the 360 knowing that Blu-ray holds more space and supports more audio formats. They would have been stuck with a dead format and would have wasted a lot of money. The thing is, Microsoft has stated that this generation is all about digital distribution, and stands by their word. If so, it looks as if Sony is actually about to dominate in that area also with the recent announcement that they will be releasing fully fledged games on the PSN. They already have started their digital distribution passé with Socom Confrontation, Burnout Paradise, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, and Warhawk. Right now they are two steps ahead of Microsoft in Microsofts own vision. But also Sony has proven that it is not all about digital distribution as Blu-ray sales continue to rise and shatter records.
So now we have Sony playing the role of Blu-ray format and are about to take control of the digital distribution from all angles, meanwhile Microsoft seems to be stuck in a position of overwhelming fear that Sony might take over digital distribution before them. Microsoft does have a signed contract with Netflix and does have arcade games on Xbox Live, but Sony also has a video store and PSN games. Sony has brought full next generation titles to digital distribution and will be continuing to do so. And at the same time Sony is building Blu-ray as the high definition format of the 21st century which is the complete opposite of digital distribution. Microsoft better look out because Sony is really kicking this year off with some big things and huge blockbuster titles.