Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) president Benjamin S. Feingold has revealed, in an official statement, the first twenty movie titles to be released on the next generation Blu-ray disc format this spring, as the format continues its struggle with HD-DVD to be the next-gen disc format of choice.
The movies are from Sony itself and MGM, which it acquired in September of 2004, and include House of the Flying Daggers, Hitch, RoboCop, The Fifth Element and Resident Evil: Apocalypse and television series Stargate: Atlantis. Black Hawk Down and The Bridge on the River Kwai will both be made available on 50GB dual layer Blu-ray discs in the summer.
"Beginning this Spring, SPHE will support the rollout of BD-compatible players, PCs and drives from a variety of consumer electronics and computer companies by offering a wide-breadth of high-definition movies and other promotional materials," said Feingold. "With the announcement of these first 20 titles, I am delighted to say that the age of Blu-ray has truly arrived."
In addition to high definition quality video and audio the statement also mentions the possibility of including Java games with all Blu-ray titles, even those that use stand-alone Blu-ray disc players, with Underworld Evolution mentioned as being the first disc to include such a feature.
Simple puzzle and trivia games are already included in many DVD releases, while dedicated interactive DVDs have also proved popular in recent years. The ability to add more complex interactive features and graphics may well have an important influence on the traditional video game market. As such, it seems likely that Sony's PlayStation 3, launching some time in 2006, will be able to play the Java games on Blu-Ray discs, but will obviously be capable of much more powerful games using its special hardware.
According to Feingold, SPHE will deliver four catalog titles per month beginning from this summer, increasing to ten titles per month by the fourth quarter of 2006. "Our strategy is to release new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD to drive consumer awareness, excitement and sales of high-definition movies. We will also release a continuous slate of catalog titles that film enthusiasts love to own, to further maximize consumer interest," he added.