Both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats may have their fates decided long before their stand-alone players hit the marketplace thanks to next-generation game consoles, which will play both, according to the New York Times:
(I)t may be the relatively low-priced video game consoles that tip the balance toward one format – or prolong the stalemate for several more years. That’s because the new game machines from Sony and Microsoft will play high-definition DVDs and may spur disc sales far faster than stand-alone players.
Of course, it’s not new that Sony and Microsoft are trying to outdo each by offering up next-gen DVD format playback on their consoles. These two companies have been streaking to pack their boxes with as much digital entertainment firepower as possible for the last two years.
And it’s likely that much of our home digital entertainment will be largely influenced – in some manner – by the game consoles in the near future. With both systems getting exponentially more powerful and moving online (which encourages a plethora of music and movie usage, along with wireless and broadband activities), it’s likely we are at the cusp of a serious home invasion that will help push things such as wireless technologies as more people (read: parents and siblings of gamers) begin to use and store media on the consoles.
While it’s clear that the demographics of gamers is changing, I think the unknown factor in how quickly new technologies make it into the average American living room is how much the rest of the people in the household begin to migrate toward one unified entertainment system. There isn’t a lot of data on this yet, simply because there has been very little reason for dad and sis to try to figure out how to play music or watch DVDs through a console.