J Allard: “We Spent A Stupid Amount of Time on Stuff Like HD-DVD In Response to the Competition”

It “distracted us from our core beliefs.”

Posted By | On 24th, Jan. 2016 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

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Former Microsoft employee James Allard, who oversaw the company’s entry into the video game console business with the Xbox, recently had a chat with NowGamer (interview originally published in GamesTM magazine) about his experience while working with the Redmond based software giant.

The 7th generation of consoles war was not only about which company can offer better games, but it was also an important period for the entertainment industry as a whole. Microsoft were pushing the HD-DVD format whereas Sony was on the Blu-ray side. Both companies were so eager to push their respective formats that Sony included the blu-ray player within the PS3 itself and made it compulsory for every developer to release games on blu-ray disc only whereas Microsoft released a HD-DVD add on for the Xbox 360. However, with several companies phasing out support for HD-DVD, the media format wars was eventually won by Blu-Ray.

Allard recalls the incident and believes it was stupid that they focused so much of their time (and money) in pushing a media format instead of focusing on online services. This also meant that the team got distracted from their core beliefs.

“We believed Sony would push their media format (Blu-ray) heavily, push the hardware to the limit and be difficult to program like all previous generations. We incorrectly guessed that they would buy up a bunch of online companies because of the critical shift from traditional media to digital distribution given that it was the next obvious format and so much of their overall business has been dependent on the shift to next generation media formats,” he stated.

“There were definitely factions within the team that did worry more about the competition and we spent a stupid amount of time on stuff like HD-DVD in response to the competition that just distracted us from our core beliefs. A new format for high-resolution movies was not important to us. Leading the charge in online gaming was – and the HD-DVD effort was a good example of how worrying about the competition can take you off your game,” he added.

Well, atleast Microsoft fixed their mistake with the Xbox One. But what are your thoughts on Allard’s statements? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • kee1haul

    Echos of VR?

    • Mark

      Lol. We’ll see

  • Mark

    Would he be saying this if BluRay didnt win? I feel him on his comment, but hopefully Phil learns from those decisions, and it dam sure looks like it so far imo…..push online gaming.

  • Xbox one 2econd gpu unlocking

    We wanted HD-DVD at the start, then we simply chanced our minds and didn’t.
    Microsoft stopped supporting what we didn’t now want.Simple

    +12 and we game on

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  • Till

    This is partly the reason MS and Xbox should go the way of the DODO.

    Between PS4, NX and Steam-boxes.. What room is there for Xbox? /rethorical

    • DLConspiracy//

      Plenty, I think any console pushes console gaming. Which should be supported if you like to play on them.

    • Alistein

      And leave one console to monopolize the market! I think not.

    • Terminator

      Steam Boxes? They have had no impact at all and NX isnt even out.

    • Till

      Competition in the console market is good for console owners but bad for games. Bae for devs and bad for gamers.

      You have Nintendo and Sony who cannibalize at a very minimum, then you have Microsofts Xbox who tries to be all over the place, with shooters, kinect and indie games.

      Steambox or Pc, it does really matter much any more. They’re starting to creep more into the livingroom in recent years.

      So no, I don’t see a reason for Xbox to exist any longer. And MS has said it themselves: the only reason the started xbox was to keep Sony from becoming the center of every livingroom.

    • TraceSkipper

      I think the NX is going to choke xbox1.

  • andy

    Don’t forget that they did everything to try and stop Bluray too. It was hilarious the day HD-DVD died at CES 2008. Its rumoured Xbox was to reveal a “Super Eilte” 360 with a built in HD-DVD drive, the Warner changed history by announcing they won’t be releasing content on HD-DVD going forward. It pretty much died that day.
    Microsoft immediately said that they don’t care about movies on discs (yeah screw you people who bought an over expensive HD-DVD addon for your 360 only up to 10 minutes ago) and said they are more focused on their pathetic video rental service on Xbox Live. A month later the 360 HD-DVD addon came down to literally €10 in the Gamestop that I worked at. Good times.

    • Jimmy Jangle

      Wasn’t that expensive for me, bought pre-owned for £30, STILL managed to get the 5 free films as part of the promo.

      Shame it still went down like it did though.

  • Starman

    And the moral to the story is what ? … My point is …who the fk cares about this kind of crap…….
    PS: plz stop saying ‘Sony’s” bluray …MS, Samsung and others MS being the most profitable with bluray ..OWNS more that SONY ..it won’t work without MS codec …so plz STFU with the fangirl sh*t
    I’m curious , what made this Journalist get up this morning and say to his/her-self “This will be a great article, lets research”…are you fkn kidding me…lol ..I’m just saying.

  • Zarbor

    I give MS credit for giving consumers the option unlike Sony. If you wanted to go in on HD-DVD and you did, don’t blame MS its your fault. You has a choice and you picked the wrong horse.

    I refuse to get into that Blu-ray versus HD-DVD nonsense until either showed me it made a difference in games. Sony forced Blu-ray on everyone and tried their best to convince people it made a difference. It was a complete lie and many bought into it which ultimately made the decision for several of the movie studios ending the war.

    Overall, I think MS was smart not to force HD-DVD on the consumer since unlike Sony they were not in a format war. I agree with Allard that they should have stayed out of it all together but when you have such a big company, their are powerful voices all around.

  • Gamez Rule

    Glad PS3 had blu-ray as it saved multi-game discs and time swapping games discs ect. And lets be honest it was a right move by Sony as Xbone now uses the blu-ray format and no longer uses what they think was best for the gamer and thanks to PS3 using blu-ray there was no need for people spending extra money out on an external HD device to play media and taking up even more unnecessary space.


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