Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Lot Can Happen in Three Months

On December 1, I packed up a few boxes of my stuff in Seattle to ship it to London. It's now February 19 and I'm going to have to wait at least another week before I see my stuff, making it a good three month lapse. You can read the whole story on my other blog, thanks to the lovely company VIP Relocation, who the Beautiful Competition and I now simply refer to as "those jokes."

One of the things I packed into those boxes was my good old Xbox 360, and one of the other things was an accompanying attachment I purchased as a tax break back when I was working on Microsoft business in Seattle: the HD-DVD Player accessory. In early December Heroes had just come out on HD-DVD (exclusively), things were looking really great for the format, and I was looking forward to getting some good life out of it once I unpacked it here (should it ever arrive.)

Even on January 1, that was a distinct possibility.

Then the following happened:

Warner Bros., one of the major backers of HD-DVD, switched to Blu-Ray exclusively. Blu-ray is the competing HD optical format.

HD-DVD canceled their CES press conference. Ouch.

Paramount defected to Blu-ray shortly thereafter.

Universal hedged its bets and went with Blu-ray too.

My former client announced a fire sale on HD-DVD accessories.

Netflix dropped HD DVD from its lineup, a sad move since aside from Heroes and a copy of Hot Fuzz I never bought one, just got them from Netflix.

So did Wal-Mart. Double-ouch.

Finally, Toshiba, the HD-DVD manufacturer, gave up and pulled the plug.

And to add insult to injury, Gamestop won't give you any money for your HD-DVD stuff anymore - even the Xbox accessory.

Now there's nothing left to do but to tell sad stories of the death of kings.

It's pretty amusing that this all went down while my HD-DVD accessory was locked away on a boat somewhere. This is always the price of early adoption, and I don't think I'll ever make this mistake again. But on the other hand, I liked HD-DVD's menus far better than the Blu-rays I saw, which were basically DVDs with better resolution. The HD-DVDs were just cleaner, they looked more techie. Which may be part of the reason most people didn't like them.

On the other hand, all I'm out is an accessory that cost me $150 for which I got a tax write-off anyway and I did get some serious enjoyment out of for the short span in which I had it. Who knows, maybe it will become a collector's item someday like a Sega CD or a 32x or any other failed add-on video game accessories in the past.

I guess when it finally does get here I can just put it in my collection of old video game crap that I'll use when I have a house again, someday, maybe.

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