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Sony out to entice Indian gamers

October 25, 2007 13:04 IST
Sony Computer Entertainment, an arm of Sony Pictures, is planning to increase its console-based business in India.

The company - responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation - opened its India office four months back and is now getting its strategy in place to offer variety and a better experience to gamers.

Console games are commonly referred to as video games and are played on a device called video game console. Examples include Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (PlayStation), and Nintendo (Wii).

Though in its infancy, the console game market - which is currently around Rs 60 crore (Rs 600 million) - is expected to touch Rs 550 crore (Rs 5.50 billion) by 2010, says PwC. This will amount to an estimated 30 per cent share of the total gaming market by 2010.

Sony's first step was to slash the prices of games and gaming console so that users are not restrained due to cost factor.

While earlier the company had announced a price cut for gaming titles from Rs 999 to Rs 499, it recently reduced prices of PlayStation3 from Rs 34,990 to Rs 29,990. The company feels that the price cut was important to get Indian users on par with their European counterparts.

The total installed base of PlayStations stands at 300,000 (including grey market sales) in India. This year, the company is expecting sales to touch 50,000-60,000 units.

The price of PlayStation2 was also cut to Rs 6,990 from Rs 8,990. Tim Stokes, director sales and marketing, West Asia, Africa and India, Sony Computer Entertainment, said, "We thought it's important despite the fact that we still end up paying 36-37 per cent of the cost on duties." Games for PlayStation3, like Harry Potter, too saw a price cut earlier this year.

Antindriya Bose, country manager - PlayStation, says the price cut has helped in increasing PlayStation sales.

"We are just in the first half of the financial year and the sales figure has crossed what we registered last year. Moving ahead, we are looking at 10 times growth. Anything lower than this will be bad performance."

The next step for the company is to look at creating games locally, for which it is eyeing Bollywood content which is popular among the Indian diaspora.

"We are looking at having games based on Indian intellectual property (IP). We are in talks with production houses and developer studios. Singstar for us will the first localised game," said Bose.

Moving ahead, the company in stages plans to introduce all its international offerings. These would however be customised for the Indian market. To start with, the company today launched Singstar Bollywood. The game - in a Karaoke format - is being launched with a tie-up with Sony BMG and T-series.

"We want to create a social gaming environment where the gamer is not playing in a solitary environment. Secondly, before launching this, we found that music as a genre was very popular in India," adds Bose. The company is also in talks with Saregama and other players for more content.

It is also working with Derek O' Brian to launch its quiz-based game called Buzz in India. This will be launched before Christmas this year.

Shivani Shinde in Mumbai