Some say it's the beginning of the end for HD-DVD, because Blu-Ray has sprinted out to a giant lead. And one of the big reasons for that lead? The PS3. According to Video Business, research firm Digital Entertainment Group has gathered a bunch of statistics regarding next-generation DVD players in the U.S. And as it turns out, Blu-Ray holds a 5 to 1 lead over HD-DVD (it was 3 to 1 a couple months ago), and that's primarily "on the strength of the PS3."

The Group says that 1.5 million Blu-Ray players are currently sitting in American homes, and 1.4 million of them are PS3s. So, essentially, Blu-Ray is winning the war in the U.S. almost entirely because of Sony's next-gen gaming console. As for HD-DVD, it currently has an installed userbase of about 300,000, but that's evenly split between HD-DVD add-on drives for the Xbox 360 and standalone players. As for overall disc sales, DEG reports that $55 million worth of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD movies have been sold to date, and Sony's format makes up $35 million of that total.

At this point, gamers are playing a massive role in the format war that most consumers believe is centered on movies. Obviously, Sony intended the PS3 to be the primary launching point for Blu-Ray, and that plan seems to have worked. The more the numbers roll in, the more that study makes perfect sense.

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