Microsoft execs slam Sony Blu-Ray strategy

Posted by spy on May 31 2006, 3:18 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Europe boss Chris Lewis and UK head Neil Thompson accuse Sony of “forcing” consumers to upgrade to unproven techThe war of words between bitter rivals Microsoft and Sony has intensified, with top Xbox Europe execs launching an astonishing attack on the Japanese firm's decision to include its next-generation DVD technology in PlayStation 3 as standard.Speaking to Eurogamer TV in part one of an exclusive E3 interview broadcast today, Xbox UK boss Neil Thompson and Europe boss Chris Lewis both accused Sony of “forcing” its Blu-Ray DVD technology onto consumers.“Sony are now making people pay an extra few hundred pounds for a Blu-Ray DVD drive which we don't know is going to be the standard in the next-generation DVD formats,” Thompson insisted. “This is the company that brought out Betamax – we don't quite know where they're going to go with this,” he added, in a pointed reference to Sony's defeat in the format war against VHS.Microsoft believes Blu-Ray's inclusion in PS3 plays right into the US firm's hands, since it is offering Xbox 360 users the option to upgrade to next-generation movie tech later this year with the release of a standalone HD-DVD drive. “If gamers over time choose to go to HD-DVD we're going to give them the choice to do that, but we're not going to force them to buy that day one,” Thompson remarked. “I find it concerning for consumers that they're being forced into a purchase... I don't think they need to make that decision for another two, three years maybe. Sony now have a very interesting business model I think they're going to find challenging.”Thompson's frank views were backed by Europe boss Chris Lewis, who added: “[PS3's] is an interesting price point that in my view forces the consumer down a choice path in a way that I'm surprised to see.”Lewis also added that the price positioning of PS3 removed any immediate pressure on Microsoft to cut the price of 360 before year-end, commenting: “We're confident that we are at the right price at the right time and will remain so, and nothing I've heard in the last two days does anything other than frankly reinforce that view.”