According to the Asahi News agency in Japan, Sony is finally giving MiniDisc a respectful burial. Never a commercial success outside Japan, the format did enjoy several years of commercial releases and a decent level of adoption in its home country. It also found fans among the film production industry, where its high quality sound and lightweight recorders found favor among boom pole operators, until solid state storage became affordable.
MiniDisc is really one of the last hurrahs of Sony proprietary media. The format was later adapted to a more DVD-style format to hold PSP games, a system which used the proprietary MemoryStick version of SD cards for removable storage. The lackluster acceptance to date of the PSP’s successor, the PS Vita, is somewhat blamed on the additional $100 investment in memory cards to make the device useful, which costs about triple what the same normal SD card of the same capacity does.
We can all hope in the future that Sony will concentrate less on owning the media, and more on building the great hardware that made them famous in the first place. But it’s still a little sad to see a format sail off to the West with little fanfare.