With Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all continuing into the next round of the next-gen console war we are slowly but surely seeing new bits of information on what to expect. All three companies will once again battle for market share dominance, but unlike this generation of consoles, the format is now a more significant part of the development plans.

With the way games are growing better graphics, bigger worlds, etc. and the increased interest in movie playback, something more then DVD is needed. High definition televisions are also becoming popular, and the technology in DVDs does not allow for true high definition viewing. Enter Blu-ray and HD-DVD. These are the two formats that will be battling for dominance in not only the gaming industry but with Hollywood as well.

Developed by Sony; the name Blu-ray comes from the blue, instead of red, laser that reads the disk. With a single layer Blu-ray disk there is about 25 Gigabytes of storage, the dual layer is approximately double that. Reports say that storage can go up as high as 100 Gigabytes. Currently the biggest problem that Blu-ray faces right now is the production process. Because of the new technology like the blue laser, entire manufacturing process would have to be changed which can get a bit pricey.

In terms of production cost HD-DVD would be a lot cheaper, because the technology is very similar to DVD and what is used today. On the downside a single layer HD-DVDs has only 15 Gigabytes of storage and 30 Gigabytes on dual layers.

Sony has reported that it will be using the Blu-ray technology for its next generation console. Nintendo is still very tight lipped about any details for its new system, codenamed “Revolution.” With planned release in 2006 for both Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft plans to be first out of the gate with a 2005 release. This puts them in an interesting position in terms of format and cost. We will only have to wait and see what unfolds in the coming months. The bottom line is that no matter what format becomes dominant expect to see some amazing changes in the way you play games.