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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 30, 2006 at 11:41 AM

Sony UMD on life support?

Hoo-boy! The death knell for Sony’s universal media disc (UMD) is deafening today. Sony introduced this small disc with its PSP gaming device and was hoping it would take off as a new format for movies and games. Target and other retailers carved out a small section in their movie departments for UMDs, which generally sold from $20 to $30. You play these movies in the PSP, which doesn’t have a hard drive.

But a year after its debut, UMD sales are reportedly tanking, and Hollywood is pulling up stakes. The Hollywood Reporter says today that two major studios have completely stopped releasing movies on UMD and others are considering doing the same. There is talk that Wal-Mart will drop the discs completely, and a Wal-Mart store in Santa Ana, Calif., only had seven titles, according to the Reporter.

The report included these quotes from anonymous movie studio execs:

“It’s awful. Sales are near zilch. It’s another Sony bomb — like Blu-ray.”

“We are on hiatus with UMD. Releasing titles on UMD is the exception rather than the rule. No one’s even breaking even on them.”

“No one’s watching movies on PSP. It’s a game player, period.”

This doesn’t bode well for the two high-definition video formats slated to debut this year: Blu-ray, which is backed by Sony, and HD-DVD, which is backed by Microsoft.

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