As expected, the debut of Sony's Blu-ray-driven PlayStation 3 last Friday boosted the format's installed base exponentially, while Microsoft is also reporting strong numbers for the HD DVD add-on drive for its rival Xbox 360.
Surprising no one, Sony's initial retail allotment of PlayStation 3 consoles sold out in a flash at stores nationwide. With a million or more PS3 shipments promised by year's end, Blu-ray would appear poised to gain a commanding lead in market share over HD DVD.
At the same time, while Microsoft has declined to declare exact sales numbers of its $199 HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 (which also hit stores this month), the company has wasted no time in crowing about intense consumer demand for the peripheral.
"We never anticipated that scenario," claimed Microsoft senior program manager Kevin Collins of the sales boost the Xbox 360 console received thanks to the add-on. "It's going right out [the door]... stores are struggling to keep up with demand."
Of course, we'll remain a bit skeptical until official sales numbers come in for for both devices. However, one thing is clear -- in a matter of mere days, the installed base Blu-ray and HD DVD players has exploded. Thanks to the next-generation of gaming, the penetration of high-def optical disc players has likely already outdistanced the combined sales of all stand-alone Blu-ray and HD DVD players to date -- and that's after several months in stores.
While the high-def format war is far from over, it's clear that the gaming world will continue to play a major role in how this all plays out. We'll be giving a full review of the high-def capabilities of both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 add-on later this week, so stay tuned!