KOLKATA: It’s a pricing duel that gets shriller and sharper by the day. Amid buzz of Microsoft cutting prices of its Xbox 360 consoles on Monday, arch rival Sony said it has another trick up its sleeve to seek cost advantages.
Atindriya Bose, country manager, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), said the company, which is a subsidiary of Sony Corp, would boost its gaming production business in India to leverage on the cost benefits that the country offers.
Game development entails big investments — for an 18-month project, the cost could be around $3-5 million for PlayStation II (PSII) and $20-30 million for PlayStation III (PSIII) consoles. Thus, the company has decided to transfer technology for its games from its London studio to India and also impart training to local developers till they have mastered the cost-optimisation tricks.
Moreover, given the huge costs of production, SCE will also offer game development kits on loan.
“The future of the Indian game development market will depend on the quality of the game developers who are starting at a zero base,” Bose said.
The company, he said, could break even in three years. And if the game development business picks up, the company may even set up a facility in India, he said. The rationale is that once the game developers acquire competence, they could easily manage to grab a share in the $43 billion global gaming development pie.
For boosting its market and revenues, the company also offers its manufacturing facility for PSPII software to other multi-format game publishers so that they can bring in their games into India at local price points. This move allows SCE not only to expand its market but also earn royalties on their games.
SCE has also tied up with four game developers in India and is working on five projects to develop local content. SCE, which was set up to steer Sony Corp’s PlayStation business worldwide, entered India barely a year ago.
Previously, its console games had a presence in the country through its distributors. However, before entering India, where gaming was still at infancy, SCE had to get its pricing right in order to beat the dominating grey market.
Consequently, it evolved an India price point for its consoles - Rs 6,990 for PSII, Rs 24,990 for PSIII and Rs 8,990 for PlayStation Portable (PSP).
Prices of gaming software came down to Rs 499-999 from Rs 1,500-2,000 since these were now being produced in India. PlayStation global sales were said to be at 1,284 yen in fiscal 2007.