Sony PlayStation (PS) already has the lion's share (80 per cent) in the Indian game console market, but the company has set its sights even higher. This is because the video game penetration in the country is very small (2 per cent) compared to other countries like the UK where it is more than 60 per cent.
Also due to the high prices of the console and the game titles, the reach has been limited to a niche audience. Sony plans to rectify this by providing the masses with relevant and localised content with which they can identify themselves.
For the same, Sony has already partnered with local game development studios to publish 10 games with Indian content like Desi Adda and Street Cricket. They also partnered with ACK Media to bring Cart Kings (a cart racing game) which had Tinkle comic characters like Suppandi and Shikari Shambu.
Earlier, in an interview with TechCIrcle.in, Atindriya Bose, Country manager-India, Sony PS had mentioned about the company's plans of working closely with Bollywood and now they have done so. The company has partnered with Ra.One (Shahrukh Khan's to be released sci-fi movie) to develop a game called 'Ra.One- The Game' which will be released in September 2011.
The game will be made available on both PS2 (DVD based game) and PS3 (as a digital download from PSN) and will be priced at Rs.499 for the PS2 version while the PS3 game title cost is not yet available. The game will be launched in India, Europe, West Asia and Australia around the same time the movie is released.
The development and promotion of the game has cost over $1 million (around Rs.4.5 crore) and the game will be promoted heavily in the country by the Sony and Shahrukh himself.
But this is not the first time a game on a Bollywood movie has been made. Earlier, a PC game on the popular Bollywood movie Ghajini (Aamir Khan) was also released. And if we talk about Hollywood, it already has a trend of launching console and PC games in co-ordination with their movie releases. So if the new game on Ra.One becomes popular among the audiences, it could pave way for future alliances.
The total installed base of PS2 and PSP owners is around 6,50,000 and 2,35,000 respectively and the company is selling their gaming consoles in almost 35 cities in India. But according to Bose, the biggest hurdle that hinders the console sales is the running cost.
"There is something called running cost, other than the investment cost. Unfortunately, the PlayStation has both. On PS2, we had been successful when we created a replication plant in India which allowed us to bring down the pricing from Rs 1500 to Rs 500. As the PS3 market grows, we are already in talks with the same replicating plant (which is a part of the Sony family) in evaluating a Blu-ray replicating line. Then, we can be a lot more confident about giving a running cost to customers that should break open this market."