It’s been nine years since PS2 was launched in India. There’s some fear that the games collection would dry up. Will you go back to the catalogue of old games or invest in developing new content?
It’s a combination of both for India because in this market PlayStation still has a long way to go. Indian developers and our partnership with them is working fine in bringing newer content and content we can take to international markets.
Desi Adda: Games of India, which features traditional Indian games such as Pachisi, Kite Flight and Kabbadi, among others, for example, will also be launched in South Africa, Middle East markets and the UK.
The second is the catalogue strategy. Even though PS2 was launched in 2001 in India, it has only picked up steam in the last two years where the market actually grew. This catalogue approach has worked well here because you can be selective and bring in stuff that is suited to this market.
How has PlayStation done in India?
On an annual basis, all consoles put together (PSP, PS2 and PS3), we now sell 300,000 consoles every year. Of this, PS2 and the PSP account for 80% of units sold. In terms of market drivers and penetration, PlayStation2 has now gone even beyond the Top 20 cities, followed by PSP, while the PS3 is still a top 10 metro phenomenon.
Keeping this in mind, the content being developed here is largely for PS2 and PSP, as it has been developed for new gamers and has been designed of them. For PS3, international content strategy works very well.
Desi Adda, which showcases six traditional Indian games, has been developed for PSP and PS2 in three languages—Hindi, Tamil and Punjabi —and the price points for these and the content are targeted at new gamers.
While the challenges are elaborate enough, you don’t want depth of game—which is 70-80 hours—which can push up the price. So, while there is certain limit on game play, it definitely matches international standards. While the recession did slow things for everyone, the rate of growth has bounced back, with impressive sales during the back-to-school season and Diwali this year.
From an Indian gaming event in February:
Amidst all this jury duty, I also found time to attend some of the sessions on the gaming industry. The most interesting thing, for me, to emerge here was that, for the first time in a conference like this, Microsoft and Sony were willing to share some unofficial sales figures. Microsoft shared an unofficial figure of ‘less than 100,000’ XBOX units (of course, that could even be 5,000). Sony claimed around 400,000 PS2s, 120,000 PSPs and 35,000 PS3 units sold. While these figures don’t sound very high in light of worldwide figures, it’s still a start. And it’s up to us to get them up — so each of you go out and convince all your friends to buy game consoles!
Note that Nintendo do not officially operate in India.