Shane Kim: “Blu-ray Won’t Take Off”

Posted by Mehar Gill on May 24, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Downloads, XBOX Live Marketplace

In a article published by Home Media Magazine, Microsoft’s Shane Kim went on the record this week by reiterating his companie’s policy of saying “Blu-ray is not coming to the Xbox 360 in any way shape or form”. This time however he added that Blu-ray will never take off.

I know Blu-ray provides some visual boost for people who want a physical HD format, but we’re not seeing that format taking off, in general, Kim said. The DVD format is still doing well. Eventually, the price of Blu-ray players will come down to $150 and the value proposition of a $300 or $400 PlayStation 3 as a game console and movie player will be impacted.

Shane Kim then went on to say that over 10 million people have used the Xbox Live Marketplace to download movies, making it the number 1 digital movie content distributor.

If Microsoft decides to release sales numbers for their title’s, I think it could really give us a better picture of how well sales of Digitaly Distributed content stacks up to Blu-ray sales.

Related posts:

  1. Microsoft Reveals XBLVM Revenue
  2. Are The Studios Lowering Blu-ray Sales Predictions?
  3. HD DVD Software Sales Still Going Strong
  4. HD Netflix Streaming Rolls Out With New Xbox Experience
  5. How HD DVD Almost Won The Format War


49 Responses to “Shane Kim: “Blu-ray Won’t Take Off””

  1. The Guardian on May 24th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Typical Microsoft… they contradict themselves! First he says Blu-ray will not take off, then he effectively says that when it does take off people will stop buying the PS3 and Xbox will win.

  2. Dave Cowl on May 24th, 2008 11:39 pm

    Shane Kim is a moron – sorry he just is.

    I am sure that 7 GB or so that they can fit on a DVD DL will not suffice for games for much longer.

    It is as much about capacity for their games as it is about movies.

    Does he really think that everyone will go out and get an XBox so that they can download movies instead of getting a Blu-ray player?

    To reiterate – this guy is simply a moron.

  3. Si on May 25th, 2008 12:14 am

    No Blu-ray on Xbox360 in any way shape or form? Wow, that’s incredibly anti-consumer. I wonder how far they would go to prevent their customers having choice. Legal measures against 3rd party add-ons?

    Not seeing that format taking off, in general? Perhaps with their legendary vision they are just saving their customers from choice that is a “passing fad and unimportant”, like Bill Gates said the internet was. Much better they limit our choices to what they have decided should be our next great thing eh?

    In no way shape or form will I ever be getting an Xbox, dumb ass!

  4. The Guardian on May 25th, 2008 5:24 am

    Don’t forget their legendary vision said we’d never need more than 640kb of RAM :) so of course to them a DVD9 is just fine.

  5. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 8:39 am

    DVD 9 is about 8.5GB +7 for a Harddrive that use’s disk caching.

    I don’t think you can sue any one for not creating a add on for you to buy :)

    Dave: Even if they do release a Blu Ray add on THEY WILL NOT use it for games. If they were going to use a format for game’s it would have been HD DVD since they already had the add on made, and the way it loaded data was very similar to how a DVD loads data, which basically mean’s better load times for games.

    If they were serious about DD on the Xbox 360 then they would have some sort of system set up so people who have a 20GB HDD can trade it in for a 120GB.

    Blu Ray for gaming is useless unless the system can back it up, were not seeing 1080p or in some of the newer case’s 720p coming from Blu Ray for the PS3.

  6. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 9:44 am

    How the format is used in gaming is not up to the format it is up to the developers. It is the capacity that it important, not the resolution – games are not movies – there is no relationship between the media and the display resolution.

    I know that DVD DL is 8.5 GB – thing is with all the DRM on the 360 discs, they can’t use all of it for the game – that is where the 7 GB comes from.

    Also with a the 360 the hard disc is not guaranteed to be there so it cannot be counted on. All in all it is pretty poorly thought out.

    What they need to do is perhaps an add on that has a Blu-ray and a hard drive inside in order to compete with the capabilities of the PS3 in gaming space.

    As far as movies go it is entirely possible that the XBox 360 can’t decode high bitrate AVC fast enough to be a ‘Blu-ray player’ in any case. When the HD DVD add on was being developed we heard that they were having trouble reliably decoding AVC at those lower bitrates.

    I can fully understand if Microsoft does not want to enable the console to play Blu-ray movies and really don’t give a crap either way. But as far as the capacity for gaming is concerned, they have a huge flaw in having only a DVD drive for game storage – almost as big as the RROD flaw, but really that can’t be beaten as far as flaws go…

  7. Felix on May 25th, 2008 9:57 am

    idiot. In certain countries, dial-up is still common. I know, I lived in 2 places. One of it, I had to use dial-up. How can M$ expect me to download movies via dial-up??? complete idiot.

    Here is my take: digital download won’t take off in near future, not before those countries’ broadband cost is not extremely high as of now.

    M$ prediction is mostly wrong. I won’t trust what they said. They said HD DVD will win? what is the result?

  8. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 10:18 am

    Dave: No it’s up to Microsoft, they forbid developer’s to develop game’s on HD DVD’s since it would alienate the market.

    Some game’s like Halo 3 optimize for the HDD, so their is no excuse as to why other developer’s who need space can’t do the same.

    AVC is probably just bad coding on either the Studio’s part or Microsofts. The Xbox 360 is indeed powerful enough for HD DVD/Blu Ray.

    When Blu Ray players reach under $400 then Microsoft will not need to worry since consumer’s who are informed but are not gamer’s won’t need to buy a PS3 for a good Blu Ray player.

    If they are really not releasing a add on, then their decision was probably made with hour’s of analaysis.

    Felix: The same was said about music years ago, and look it how far that came. Almost everyone is buying their music online now adays. Also, if a country is mostly dial up, odd’s are they can’t afford the mean’s to start a DD collection.

  9. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 11:16 am

    Simply put the 360 is behind the times. AVC is more complex than VC-1 to decode for various reasons. The studios don’t have any influence on the complexity of the codec – granted the ability for Microsoft to code a playback solution is questionable.

    For the HDD optimisation – 360 developers have to allow for the systems with no hard drive, regardless of what they optimise for.

    As for music versus HD movies – ummm… big difference… in fact well over 1000:1 difference in file size there for a song versus an HD movie with Blu-ray bitrates.

    And I seriously doubt that almost everyone is buying their music online…

  10. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 11:20 am

    BTW, I have a question…

    When your XBox 360 needs to be returned for RROD syndrome, what happens to your downloaded movies?

    Do they transfer all of your content to the replacement machine?

  11. thomas p vinelli on May 25th, 2008 11:51 am

    ms should fire people that make remarks like this.
    noting knew from ms,and there not fooling anybody with these kind of remarks.

    mr. kim your an you may be good at what you do at ms but hillary type remarks hurts you and your company….please shut up

  12. thomas p vinelli on May 25th, 2008 11:56 am

    @ felix:
    this is typcal fud from ms,they truely are the evil empire

  13. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 12:22 pm

    Dave: Back when Music downloads were starting not every one had anything better then 56k, and those that did had low speeds.

    I have a feeling you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say HDD Optimization. The way it work’s is if the game detect’s you have a Harddrive, it optimize’s itself for it, so textures are loaded onto the 7GB set aside for the system to make load time/speeds faster. If their is no HDD then it will be business as usual.

    And yes a ton of people do, that’s why store’s like HMV, Music World, etc are focusing on other means to make money since CD sale’s are dwindling.

    You keep the HDD when your console Red Rings, so when you get the replacement back you just pop in the HDD and let the DRM refresh itself.

    Thomas: If companies fired everyone who made remarks such as this then their would be no one left to run them.

    Microsoft has fact’s, hence them saying such things, the question is, can they release them? Companies do this all the time, they say stuff like this but are unable to release the full details for legal reasons.

  14. Jonsson on May 25th, 2008 12:37 pm

    Total bullshit. This BS is why MS went on the inferior HD-DVD bandwagoon in the first place. Not because it was a good product but by supportin the format war they would slow down the acceptance of Blu-Ray.

    Now they are trying the same shit trough disinformation. I used to like Microsot products but with this piece of crap. Well they just made a BIG mistake.

  15. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 1:11 pm

    Mehar, if every system had a HDD, then there would the developers could count on the HDD optimisations that you speak of. Everyone would get the same experience. Due to the lack of HDD, there MUST be support for non hard drive systems with the XBox 360. This support would not be needed if Microsoft had put hard drives in ALL systems.

    Perhaps a ton of people download music – a ton is far short of almost everyone. This is evidenced by the huge amount of shelf space dedicated to CD’s.

    I think the reality is that downloads can make inroads into the market for music singles but for albums, why pay for DRM’ed downloads when you can buy the CD for not much more..?

    Similarly, the download/streaming model make sense against the rental market. For sell through it makes no sense at all, bandwidth issues aside.

    And then, the 360 is far from the best choice with dedicated media hardware like TiVo around, which is quiet and won’t die due to poor design.

    Maybe Microsoft should come out with a ‘Zune for video’…

    In any case, it looks like Mr Kim is taking over from Amir as Chief Bullshitter for Microsoft.

  16. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 1:19 pm

    Bungie pulled off HDD optimization just fine, you can see that on Xbox Live.

    I really don’t want DD’s to kill of physical mediums, Id rather have the physical product in my hand then on a harddrive. I really think a harmony should be made between the two.

    But the sad reality is, one day thing’s will change, unless someone make’s a succesor to a spinning medium that will greatly reduce piracy and increase quality we will be stuck with DRM filled content.

    The average consumer who know’s nothing about DRM won’t care if the song they buy off iTunes, Amazon, etc has DRM on it. They will be intrigued by the fact that they don’t have to walk to the store every time a new album come’s out.

    Streaming model’s are crap, you get reduced quality, lag, and poor control.

    I really like the new method that companies have come out with that comes with a 800MB or so video file on the DVD/Blu Ray disc itself, that’s the kind of harmony the industry should go for.

    Zune does have a video playback and it’s own video store (connected to your Windows Live ID)

    Who’s Amir?

  17. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 1:47 pm

    I am talking about HD Video.


    Digital Copy on the disc releases is an interesting and useful thing.

    A lot of people don’t mind going to the store. If you don’t like it you can use Amazon.

    The problem with DRM is that it limits your playback options – CDs work at home, in the car and in your boom box. And are better quality than lossy compressed downloads.

    To pull something off is easier if you don’t have to do it at all in the first place.

    Personally I think that streaming/VOD is the future with respect to internet models. You should not have to wait for the downloads.

    It is odd how you believe that the internet connections will get faster yet don’t see that there will be similar improvements in streaming.

    Once I can get streaming media at 40 Mbps into my home, I think we will have something viable.

    Note that at that download rate, it wills still take over an hour to download a BD quality movie.

    That is why I believe that steaming will become key before downloads. FIOS effectively does this for FIOS TV already as does U-verse I believe…

  18. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 1:50 pm

    I never said anything about Internet getting faster, the 360 model is unique in that it loads off the harddrive but a bit differently then you would expect.

    You download your movie, wait for the meter to get at 10% or so, and you can begin watching your movie. That model is good since it’s not really streaming and you still get true HD quality.

  19. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Buffered streaming is nothing new really and it does assume you have the 360 with a hard drive…

    None the less, you may be getting ‘HD Quality’, but it is not Blu-ray quality.

  20. webdev511 on May 25th, 2008 2:12 pm

    If MS wants to put more than 7GB of game (plus 1 for drm) they can still do a hardware refresh of the 360 and use…wait for it…HD DVD.

    They get 30-51 GB per disc, cheap replication capacity and a “non mainstream” format that should help reduce piracy.

    As far as 3rd party Blu-Ray addons go, just forget it. MS would have to approve the software changes required to decode BD, BD-J and BD+. The chances of that happening are slim at best.

  21. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 2:20 pm

    Webdev: That is true, I doubt they will do that for the 360, maybe the next gen Xbox.

    Dave: The content is encoded with VC-1 which is one of the if not the best codec for HD encoding. Your gonna need a HD anyway for the system to work in the first place due to the size of the videos.

    The major flaw is their is no 1080i/p content on the marketplace. If their was then you can compare the two systems too the best of their abilities.

    I realize it is nothing new but it work’s while keeping the quality of the film intact.

  22. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 3:26 pm

    They don’t do 1080i/p because they are keeping the bitrate low. 720p uses less bits since it is lower resolution.

    VC-1 is no better than AVC, the codec of choice on Blu-ray. It is not special or magical and performs worse as you lower the bitrate, just like any codec.

    Blu-ray has higher bitrate than HD DVD – both have higher bitrate and resolution than the downloads.

    The downloads do not have the equivalent quality of a Blu-ray Disc or even HD DVD.

    You can read here that they don’t even compare well to upconverted DVDs.

    @Web – to use HD DVD in the XBox would require support that no longer exists from Toshiba. 51GB? Was there ever a real example of that?

  23. Justin Sluss on May 25th, 2008 3:53 pm

    Man he’s asking for a guest spot on “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” making a statement like that. Yea Blu-ray is doing horrible. So much that it beat HD-DVD and sales are through the roof. LOL, he’s going to soon be eating his hat there so-to-speak.

  24. Justin Sluss on May 25th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Speaking of Microsoft’s movie downloads. WHY ON EARTH?! would he ever think people would prefer a 24-hour rental to a physical disc with the film on it that NEVER expires and is 5 times the quality! People on XBOX 360′s with the 120 gigabyte harddrive should even know that XBOX Live’s Movies are a joke right now. Those of us on the 20 gigabyte harddrive don’t even bother with these as we only have room for a few at best… he needs to really get realistic here. XBOX Live’s Movies reminds me of a failed format called Divx that circuit city attempted back in the day…

  25. merrick97 on May 25th, 2008 4:21 pm

    Jesus christ,

    How much of the “bluray is doomed” bullshit are we gonna have to put up with?

    This shit is getting OLD.

    If bluray has shown little growth by this time next year THEN we will talk.

    Until them, SHUT THE F**K UP.

  26. Justin Sluss on May 25th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Merrick97, Couldn’t agree with you more!!

  27. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 5:49 pm

    Dave: HD DVD in the next Xbox would be good for Microsoft, since the only one to get fee’s from it is Toshiba. And yes it does exist, it was demoed at CES a few years back.

    Factor in the fact that if they do, the technology will be improved. Sega, Sony, Nintendo, etc have all done it with their own formats.

  28. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 5:50 pm

    I think we have covered almost all we could have Dave, it’s starting too look unprofessional for staff to argue speculation.

  29. Tyler Pruitt on May 25th, 2008 6:18 pm

    I think we all can agree Shane Kim is is just blowing smoke out of his a#&.

  30. Belard on May 25th, 2008 6:28 pm

    Sorry – Mehar Gill – We’ve gone over this before. (Oh yeah, since HD-DVD is dead, lets go totally opposite to Downloads) – There is a HUGE difference between a 3mb song and a 25GB movie! If everyone used the net to DL HD-content movie, the net would come to a halt. The cost for long-term use of a movie for an Xbox would exceed the costs for BluRay. $20 is typical for “perm” DL of a movie… which is NOT transportable to another device. (gee wow) And DL content is compressed more than what is on disc media, so its quality is typically and usually not even close to Blu-Ray.

    This is the stupid FUD that MS xbox department talks about a lot. Read this on Dailytech:

    - If or When blu-Ray comes to Xbox360, it will be like HD-DVD, ONLY used for watching movies.

    - Developers will NEVER design games for blu-Ray media for the xbox. The user base would be highly limited…

    - The cost of a XBOX Blu-Ray add-on will easily exeed the price of a PS3.

  31. Mehar Gill on May 25th, 2008 6:30 pm

    Belard: You can’t think of song download’s by today’s standards, think of it from yesterday’s point of view.

  32. Justin Sluss on May 25th, 2008 6:36 pm

    Tyler, yes I think the fact this story has got so much feedback in the comments really shows people are offended by what he said.

    - Justin of

  33. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 7:06 pm

    Mehar – nothing wrong with healthy discussion.

    The reason that they can’t use HD DVD is because Toshiba has canceled it. There is no more being made – so nowhere for the drives to come from.

    If they want a high capacity drive, it would need to be Blu-ray based or something entirely different and effectively proprietry, which would not make much sense… or they could restart the HD DVD lines, which once again would not make much sense.

    Blu-ray based would be the obvious choice for quantities of scale.

  34. Dave Cowl on May 25th, 2008 7:31 pm

    What I wanna know is – do these guys really believe what they say?

    The likes of Amir or Steve Kim or Rob Enderle (Mr ‘Apple is dead’ and ‘HD DVD is winning’) – do they believe it or do they just spread as much BS as they can create and hope some sticks and benefits their causes?

  35. webdev511 on May 25th, 2008 7:37 pm


    I disagree. Toshiba is no longer producing HD DVD players nor subsidizing the HD DVD movie business. That does not mean that HD DVD as a digital storage media cannot or will not ever be used again.

    TL-51GB did work in the lab and if MS would be bringing it back just as a data storage medium then they don’t have to worry about backwards compatibility with existing HD DVD players. Of course Toshiba will be encouraging MS to focus on flash based media, but I have a hunch TL-51 could be a bit quicker to implement.

  36. Jonsson on May 25th, 2008 10:25 pm


    “do they believe it or do they just spread as much BS as they can create and hope some sticks and benefits their causes?”

    There you put your finger right on it. His statement is marketing BS for the stupid. Nothing else.

  37. Dave Cowl on May 26th, 2008 12:32 am

    Toshiba was the only producer … where do you expect the HD DVD drives to come from?

    The only sign I see of the potential for HD DVD like media per se is the CH-DVD format, though it is hard to say exactly what that will entail, or when it will surface…

    BD drives for PC’s can be got for just over $100 now in stores. Surely any ‘HD DVD resurection’ option would be more expensive that just buying existing drives?

  38. Mehar Gill on May 26th, 2008 10:21 am

    Dave: Just because something is discountined dosen’t mean it can’t be “restarted”. Toshiba has the patents sitting around, if Microsoft come’s to them and asks them for such a favour Toshiba would jump to it, why? Because it will make them money since console’s and games sell like crazy.

  39. Dave Cowl on May 26th, 2008 11:46 am

    It is not about what can and can’t be done – it is about the costs involved.

    Using a Bl-ray drive would be less expensive than using HD DVD – with the possible exception of CH-DVD should it come to pass.

    It is possible that the spite factor would lead Microsoft to choose a more expensive path than sharing the same drive as Sony regardless of where they source it.

    Of course choosing anything other than Blu-ray would mean that the PS3 remains capable of playing the HD movies at Best Buy and Blockbuster, while the Microsoft answer does not – which would be seen by some as an advantage to the Sony console.

  40. Mehar Gill on May 26th, 2008 3:23 pm

    In the short term yes, but in the long run it will be a much valuable assest for them to have Dave. It would be mucher cheaper then paying Sony and the BDA fees.

    If Microsoft is right about DD then Blu Ray would make little to no difference for them. Of course by then Blu Ray, assuming it take’s off will probably be under the $100 sweet spot.

    You do realize Dave, that streaming video is going to become the leading factor of the big internet crash that people have talked about for years. That was factoring in crap You Tube quality, imagine how much HD quality would speed that up.

  41. Dave Cowl on May 26th, 2008 3:59 pm

    I would think that a drive that plays movies is more valuable than one that is limited to SD movies.

    But indeed if Microsoft really believes their own bullshit, then sure, why not ignore the movie format.

    They will possibly wait for the next Xbox evolution to have a high capacity drive in any case… by then I imagine things will be clearer for them either way…

  42. Mehar Gill on May 27th, 2008 5:32 am

    Nintendo has alway’s ignored that stuff and look at them.

  43. Ryan on May 27th, 2008 7:43 am

    With the economy the way it is right now, I don’t think BD will take off as anything more than a niche market for HD enthusiasts (like ourselves), at least as long as the movies stay priced the way they are. The players are not priced badly, I think they are very reasonable, and lower than we all thought they would be at this point.

  44. Mehar Gill on May 27th, 2008 12:26 pm

    Ryan: It’s also about getting “bang for your buck” their are some movies that are so loaded with extra’s you wonder how they ever made enough space to keep all of it. And their are other’s that have almost nothing to show.

  45. Belard on May 27th, 2008 1:52 pm

    @ Mehar Gill:
    Belard: You can’t think of song download’s by today’s standards, think of it from yesterday’s point of view.(End of Quote)

    Back when Napster was new in 2000, I had 320k down DSL performance. It could take about a minute to DL a 3mb song. The concept of DL is not difficult for me. I DL a Linux ISO of 600mb in about 8 mins with my 8K DL. To DL a 25GB HiDef Movie would still take a few hours.

    I have cable with OnDemand. I still BUY DVDs rather than pay $$ because (A) Better picture (B) My 3yr old son can play it on HIS TV/DVD unit – wherase he can’t use OnDemand withot costing me money. (C) More features (D) Cost less.

    DD has its place… sure. But for many movie collectors, its not worth the time, effort or money. DD is not portable, its time consuming, featureless and doesn’t actually save money.

    (quote)Dave: HD DVD in the next Xbox would be good for Microsoft, since the only one to get fee’s from it is Toshiba. And yes it does exist, it was demoed at CES a few years back(end of Quote)

    You really have no understanding of logistics do you? Why would MS put in a 51GB HD-DVD drive in the next Xbox where it won’t be able to play movies? What, you forgot that multi-layered Blu-Ray supports 100~200GB of storage without replacing the player hardware?

    Why would MS or any company put up around 100million dollars to restart a dead format? When all they would have to do is simply buy some standard cheap BR drive and stick it in? Microsoft would STILL have to pay Toshiba royalities… so the “not paying Sony” doesn’t pan out. This is why we had a format war and why it needed to end, nobody needs 2 simular formats.

    Amiga was great technlogy when it was killed in the 90s. It would be YEARS later until MS or Apple equaled or surpassed Amiga OS or hardware abilities. The user base maxed out around 2-3million users. Today, estimate about 10,000~15,000 users world wide… using Hardware technology that is mostly 5-8 years old that cost more than todays PCs. Yet some of those people STILL think “its gonna come back”. It’s not… and if they DON’T want to use Windows or MAC, they can easily just user Linux which is very much like an Amiga anyways (which is based off of Unix) and has millions of installations.

    HD-DVD is dead. Its not coming back. If you have millions in your bank account, go to Toshiba and neg a deal with them.

  46. Mehar Gill on May 27th, 2008 1:59 pm

    Belard: The whole beyond layer Blu Ray comaptiblity is bullshit, all they have done is talk about it, they have not demoed anything regarding it actually working.

  47. Ryan on May 27th, 2008 7:22 pm

    @Mehar: There are a lot of movies out or coming out that give you nothing to show, no special features, and a $35 price tag retail. I don’t see too many with loads of special features, although I’ve stopped looking more recently at that aisle altogether. Good point though.

  48. Mehar Gill on May 28th, 2008 7:36 am

    Ryan: Exactly, that put’s a bad taste in a new consumer’s mouth. Plus those kinds of movies usally have crap transfers aswell.

  49. Justin Sluss on June 15th, 2008 1:32 pm

    @Mehar Gill – As a Reviewer for the Studios on upcoming release Mehar I totally understand what you mean as a consumer there… Very true. I often wonder that myself… especially FOX… studio that seems to give you ALL or NOTHING in the bonus materials department

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