The move strikes a rather devastating blow to the now-thinner HD DVD backers group. It’s true, Microsoft and Toshiba will continue to support the video format, but chances are they’ll be the only ones left in a short while.

Most of the Hollywood moguls were somehow persuaded by Sony to go Blu-ray. Besides the “semi-traitors” Warner and New Line, there are five other big names lines up beneath the blue banner: Sony Pictures, Buena Vista, 20th Century Fox, MGM and Lionsgate. In the mean time, HD DVD can only rely on Universal (a long-time supporter and, perhaps, the one to remain the last supporting it) and Paramount, who ditched Sony’s format back in August.

However, Paramount is already rumored to have already put its lawyers on the lookout for ways out of the HD DVD exclusivity deal. It might’ve looked like a good agreement back in August (when several other big names were supposed to follow the trend and abandon Blu-ray), but now the picture has severely changed..The playground is getting that depressing winter-deserted look that doesn’t attract a lot of visitors, apart from the weird emo kids who just need a place to whine about life being unfair and cruel and so on.

Universal will also be there, but that’s hardly comforting. As said, Universal has been playing there from the very beginning and the word goes that it will keep playing there even after the playground is long gone.

It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth: the consumers will go for the format that actually features the most content. With the Blu-ray currently leading seven to two, take a wild guess which side will prevail? (hint: it’s backed by Sony). Strive as they might, Paramount and Universal can’t possibly dream to surpass the other camp in numbers of released movies. And even if they did, the quality of such hastily-released products would certainly leave a lot to be desired.

The HD DVD camp still has a bit of optimism chained to their public statements: "we’ve been declared dead before," stressed out Toshiba VP Jodi Sally. In other words, “chill out people, it’s just a bump in the road”. Right. And the South shall rise again, some might add.

Right now Microsoft and Toshiba must be looking for new ways to make sure their format has a future. I’m in a helping mood today and so, here are two plans guaranteed to make them the winners:

Plan 1: Buy Sony. Cripple Blu-ray. Force everyone to come back begging.

Plan 2 (use if Plan 1 fails for various reasons): Learn to spell Betamax.