SCE UK boss Ray Maguire has dismissed suggestions that Sony is bullying gamers by forcing them to adopt its movie-playing technology with PlayStation 3 - claiming Blu-Ray is essential to the next-gen gaming experience.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Eurogamer TV, published today, Maguire vigorously defended the decision to include its proprietary Blu-Ray format as standard on the £425 console - amidst accusations levelled by Microsoft, which claims it is offering real consumer choice by launching a rival HD-DVD add-on for Xbox 360 later this year.
"Blu-Ray is really important for the games side of our business because what it does is it give us the ability to have 50Gb of information actually on the disc," Maguire said.
"With PlayStation 3 you're looking at a Cell chip that has immense computing power. That means you're going to need a huge amount of storage as well - we really need that Blu-Ray disc because what we don't want to be doing is swapping discs half way through loading. It's really important to us."
Maguire was also keen to stress that consumer appetite for HD was not just restricted to the burgeoning US market, despite relatively poor uptake levels in the UK.
"High definition is the way of the future; everyone's looking forward to it," he insisted. "Sky are eagerly trying to get boxes out for the World Cup and people are buying flat panels especially for HD.
"The reality is there's not very much High Definition content at the moment, and in a way PlayStation 3 is going to legitimise the whole of the High Definition experience for people.
"Right now 25 per cent of homes have got HD panels in the US. You've only got to go into stores now to see the old CRT is hardly available and it's all flat panels labelled 'HD Ready'. We know that there's an appetite from consumers and we're going to give them the product that makes it really sparkle."
Also in the interview, Maguire defends PS3's £425, reveals plans to continue to support PS2 for years to come and claims he is confident of a successful launch despite widespread fears of major stock shortages.
The full exclusive video interview is available now on Eurogamer TV.