Pitching Woo in high-definition

'Strangehold' special edition gets 'Hard Boiled'

High-definition DVDs are enabling amazing new technical feats. But they can also cause semantic headaches.

Midway’s special edition PlayStation 3 version of its new game “Stranglehold” is the first to put a vidgame and movie on the same disc. In this case, it’s “Hard Boiled,” the John Woo-helmed action classic that served as the inspiration for “Stranglehold,” which Woo helped to develop.

Combo is only possible on the PS3, since that console uses Sony’s Blu-ray disc format, which can hold five times as much data as the standard DVDs used on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii.

Midway got rights to “Hard Boiled” from the Weinstein Co.-owned Genius Products, which is getting a cut of the extra $10 the publisher is charging for the PS3 special edition. In addition, Genius agreed to promote “Stranglehold” in “Hard Boiled” DVDs, while Midway returned the favor in its games.

But that also added a headache.

Genius, it turns out, is committed to only release its high-def movies in the HD DVD format, Blu-ray’s competitor.

As a result, even though “Hard Boiled” has been upconverted to work with the highest resolutions that the PS3 supports, Midway isn’t technically calling its version of the movie “high definition.”

“This was definitely a tough deal to do,” admits Midway chief marketing officer Steve Alison. “But we think it was worth it to make our special edition much more compelling than just adding a trading card.”

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