During infancy of the current console generation, there was much debate regarding Sony's inclusion of the Blu-ray Disc format with the PlayStation 3. The blue and violet lasers did drive costs up, but it was hard to argue with the value of a 50GB storage medium for Sony's console.
Fast forward ahead years to today, and we're still on the same argument but on a different scale. Xbox product director Aaron Greenberg told CVG that the Xbox 360 lack of a Blu-ray Disc drive has allowed it to take a massive lead against the PS3.
"Being $100 cheaper [than PS3] is part of the reason we're nearly twice their installed base," Greenberg said, referring to the North American market, according to CVG.
PlayStation 3's added investment in Blu-ray Disc, while it does cost more, pays off with games such as Final Fantasy XIII, where it ships on one disc versus three DVDs for the Xbox 360.
"The fact that we're able to offer a console starting at $199 is a benefit of not being burdened with that cost," Greenberg said to Edge magazine."For us, our bet was on digital distribution, that was the future - the ability to [play] 1080p movies with no disc, no download required; we have the largest movie and TV library, the largest HD library of any console."
Ironically, Microsoft's $199 version of the Xbox 360 doesn't come with the accessory that is needed most for the company's bet on digital distribution – a hard disk drive.