Sony leaving PC optical drive market

/ 5 years ago

It is perhaps the least glamorous part of the desktop system – the optical drive. In recent times the growing trend among PC enthusiasts has been to scrap it altogether, since games can be downloaded, operating systems can be installed from USB storage and drivers don’t need discs anymore.

It is probably no surprise then when we tell you that Sony’s optical disc producing arm, Optiarc, was actually operating at a loss. Prices of ODDs had been forced so low there is no point in Sony making them anymore. And so, no longer will Sony produce optical disk drives.

We don’t think this is particularly sad news for consumers, but a good indicator of market trends – the optical disk drive is declining. Samsung, Lite On, Pioneer, Plextor, LG and many more still make optical disk drives hence Sony’s exit is likely to have little impact.

The Blu Ray format was a valiant attempt at saving the dying disc but that’s probably not enough either. Blu Ray drives are still extortionately expensive along with Blu Ray discs so most people have just seen the ways of USB storage paired up with streaming to TVs through media centres and home servers.

Sony’s Optiarc had 15% of the PC optical drive market and its closure resulted in 400 employees receiving either early retirement or a transfer to elsewhere in Sony. Sony will continue to make optical drives as it needs them for its PlayStations and media players – it just won’t sell them to the desktop market any more.


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