A plus for PS3

Sony's PlayStation 3 chances for total next-gen domination received an important boost in Australia this week

Randolph Ramsay
Randolph was previously a member of the CNET Australia team and now works for Gamespot.
Randolph Ramsay
Randolph Ramsay

commentary Sony's PlayStation 3 chances for total next-gen domination received an important boost in Australia this week, and it wasn't even something related to games. The news that major retailer ="http: www.cnet.com.au="" dvdpvr="" digitalstb="" 0,239035820,339273637,00.htm"="">JB Hi-Fi will be exclusively stocking Blu-ray movies is a significant plus for Sony's yet-to-be-released console, and puts HD DVD a step behind.

It's a long way off before we can call a winner in the Blu-ray/HD DVD stoush, but the exclusive support of one of Australia's fastest growing tech retailers is nothing to be sneezed at. JB Hi-Fi is emerging as a true behemoth in the Aussie market, with its most recent half-year net profit announced this week showing an impressive jump of 39 percent from the same period a year before.

Consumers seeing nothing but Blu-ray titles at JB stores will do a world of good for the PlayStation 3 when it comes out here on 23 March. The PlayStation 3 is expensive -- especially compared to the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii -- but the visible presence of Blu-ray films will do a lot to ease the financial question marks hovering over potential PS3 buyers' heads. Sony has long plugged the PS3 as a multimedia beast that isn't just about games. And by now, most consumers will be aware that part of the reason behind that hefty price tag is the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive in the console. A PS3 sitting next to a healthy number of Blu-ray movies at a retailer like JB Hi-Fi certainly adds to the appeal, as it makes the PS3's Blu-ray drive seem like less of a superfluous add-on to a gaming machine and more of a compelling feature.

Of course, winning the support of one retailer doesn't win the format war. But it does spell good news for the PS3. And for a console that's a year behind and hundreds of dollars more expensive than its competitors, any good news is welcome.

How significant is JB Hi-Fi's Blu-ray move for the PS3? Will this hurt the Xbox 360 and HD DVD? Tell us your opinion below!