Sony Group to End Production of Blu-ray Discs; Market Has Shrunk Due To Growth Of Hard Disk Drives, Streaming

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of Sony Group Corp.

Sony Group Corp. is ending its production of Blu-ray discs (BD) used for recording. This decision is due to the growing use of high-capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) and the proliferation of video streaming services, which have led to a shrinking market for BD. This marks Sony Group’s complete withdrawal from the production of optical disc-based recording media.

Sony will coordinate with mass retailers to set a time for the end of sales for household use. However, the development and production of BD recording and playback devices will continue. In line with the end of production, Sony Group will seek voluntary retirement from about 250 employees at its development and production site in Miyagi Prefecture, where optical discs and magnetic tapes for recording are produced. A spokesperson for Sony Group stated, “The market is continuing to contract, and we have determined that structural reform is necessary.”

Since it first released recording media using optical discs in 1986, Sony Group has led the world in miniaturization and capacity increases. Along with other companies including Panasonic Corp., Sony Group spearheaded the development of BD. In the 2000s-era war over which format would become the standard for high-definition DVDs, BD emerged victorious over HD DVD, which was backed by Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. According to research firm BCN Inc., Sony Group held an 18.8% share of the domestic market for BD for recording, putting them in third place, in the 2023 fiscal year.

A survey by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) shows that the number of BD recording and playback devices shipped dropped from 6.78 million units in 2011 to 1.21 million units in 2023.