PS3 News: New PS3 gamers who want to play high-definition video games and movies will be required to use an HDMI cable.
Update: Sony's new PS3 model kills HD via Component Cable for Blu-Ray movies, not games or streaming
Another day, another consumer-alienating mistake. Sony will introduce a new PS3 model and quietly kill off high-definition gaming and movie watching via component cables, according to a call Gaming Target placed with multiple GameStop employees today and a tip first picked up by Kotaku. This "K" chassis will force gamers to use an HDMI cable to view content in high-definition and will apply to all future PS3 models going forward.
There are several problems with this move. First, not every HDTV is equipped with an HDMI port. For example, my 26" behemoth office HDTV bought circa 2005 has a set of component ports and a single DVR port (the short-lived, video-only predecessor to HDMI). It's not my main television anymore, but one on which I still play and review games. How many office and bedroom televisions will be effected? ?Let's watch this Netflix Instant Queue movie while going to be..d... Oh right. Thanks, Sony.?
Second, Sony's HDMI cable output is flagged with DRM. That matters because users won't be able to record gameplay footage or take high-definition screenshots with the new system model. Case in point, I wouldn't have been able to these export HD screencaps for my G4TV review of MLB.TV on PS3. If I were the owner of one of these new PS3 models that start shipping this week, it would've been a duller, imageless article, or at least one with standard definition screenshots, which wouldn't be fair to Major League Baseball or its PS3 app. Keep in mind, my review praised Sony and PS3's ability to be the exclusive console provider of an MLB.TV app.
This ?sharing is caring? attitude is extended to YouTube, which has been exploding with high-resolution gameplay clips for online multiplayer titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops. While in-game screen capturing is possible, the limitations have forced people to capture and edit their own videos. Will people's system of choice slowly shift to HD video component-friendly Xbox 360 versions of games instead of lower-resolution, SD videos on PS3? If this is the trend that continue with PS3 down the line and the launch of PS4, Sony should say goodbye to this form of free viral marketing.
The move is yet another clueless decision by Sony, which isolates itself more and more with each passing week. Axing PS3's backward compatibility PS2 games; dropping the "other OS" feature via a required system firmware update; inciting rioting hackers who forced Sony to shut down PSN for 24 days and the PS Store for 42 days; bringing a lawsuit against a 21-year-old iPhone/PS3 jailbreaker with ?how to? jailbreak PS3 videos instead of fortifying its network; and, most recently, promising to make up for stolen account information and password with a "Welcome Back" package of free games through "July 3," but misunderstanding that the word "through" should not mean until midday July 3 (thankfully, after company spokespeople whined with "why are people complaining?" Sony reversed its position and extended the deadline).
The document does say that this component-cable-killing decision will not extend to older PS3 systems, cited as A through J. However, the unceremonious death PS3 high-definition content on an HDMI-less HDTV and the dropping of the built-in viral marketing that gameplay clips provide will not outweigh the futile copyright infringement blockades that Sony is trying to set up. Instead, making sure its critically-panned movies aren't $25 a pop might be a good start.