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23 August, 2007 / Erik

Format War: The Battle of Bay

I have rented Michael Bay’s Bad Boys and Carol Reed’s Fallen Angel. I’m not sure what that exposure will produce.

Also of some interest is Michael Bay’s place in the next gen DVD format war. According to Engadget, Bay claimed he would not be making Transformers 2 in response to Paramount’s proclamation that it will go HD-DVD (the format championed by Microsoft) only. Bay, saddened by the realization his fanbase cannot get his films in the Blu-Ray Disc format (owned by Sony), went on a tear at his official forum. The next day he recanted and claimed he “drank the kool-aid” of a couple of Blu-Ray Disc owners he was dinning with the previous night.

Now, Engadget has not linked to any of the relevant quote from Bay. These threads on Bay’s forum do not appear to be available to the public.

But here’s Googlecache to aid our search for the truth. Now, notice the time this was posted, 2:44 AM. 

Now, here’s Engadget’s phrasing of Micheal Bay’s full rested take on the situation:

“Michael’s latest post now says that, “I drank the Kool Aid” blah blah blah “so I think I might be back on to do Transformers 2!” Whatever, wuss.”

And Bay’s actual phrasing (with link):

“Last night at dinner I was having dinner with three Blu-Ray owners, they were pissed about no Transformers Blu-Ray and I drank the kool aid hook line and sinker. So at 1:30 in the morning I posted – nothing good ever comes out of early am posts mind you – I over reacted. I heard where Paramount is coming from and the future of HD and players that will be close to the $200 mark which is the magic number. I like what I heard.”

Now, there’s several aspects of this story I’m not clear on.  Is Engadget’s Thomas Ricker a supporter of Blu-Ray? The nature of the initial Bay item seems to be supporting Bay’s midnight stance. But who is so sold on either format at this point? Bill Hunt over at the Digital Bits has made his choice of Blu-Ray Disc quite clear and solid, but continues to cover HD-DVD. Bay seems to be sold on the HD-DVD format, but as his own forum members have pointed out, most of his back catalog will be available in BD. Me? I’m sticking to the sidelines like most consumers because of price point and confusion. I don’t want to find I spent 700 dollars for an 8-Track player when this all ends. If Bay is telling us true things and the HD-DVD camp can get a 200 dollar machine out by the holidays, that would be persuasive. It’ll also save that format as it’s currently quite behind Blu-Ray Disc at the moment; losing placement in stores left and right.

Does Engadget make a habit of half-quoting people without giving their readers a link back to the source?

There is also the issue of Bay’s proclamations regarding Transformers 2. So cavalier is he about his status in the sequel’s production, I can’t help but wonder if he’s being playful and has been all along.

Or if he renegotiated his cut of home video sales.

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