The $30 billion (Rs 1.2 lakh crore) gaming industry believes Indian themes and characters will be the centrestage of world gaming within the next decade and has started shopping in India for content.
“There is an emerging interest in Indian themes across the world, especially in the Middle East, North America, South Africa, US and UK. They are very interested in Indian culture, and it is not only the Indians living there,” said Zeno Colaco, vice-president, Sony Computer Entertainment, Europe, who flew into Mumbai last week to meet Indian developers and discuss creation of Indian games for PlayStation 2 (PS2), the company’s second and best-selling video game console with a sale of over 120 million units in 2007.
“Bollywood, cricket and Indian mythology are perfect material for games,” said Colaco. Sony is likely to finance Indian projects and provide technical support for the games.
The first dose of purely Indian games will hit the global market this Diwali with none other than Indian mythological hero, Hanuman.
The first console game to be fully developed in India and based on an Indian theme, it will be compatible with PS2. In India, the PS2 is the largest-selling video game console with recorded sales of over 3.25 lakh units. An original PS2 game costs between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,500.
“Hanuman takes the player through the exploits of a teenage Hanuman that has been created with universal appeal and élan for global markets,” said Sachin Naik, Managing Director, Hyderabad-based Aurona Technologies, the creators of Hanuman. “Indian gaming content is going to arrive and be most popular very soon.”
Hanuman’s just the tip of the iceberg. PlayStation plans to launch a new Indian game every month after the release of Hanuman.
Several gaming companies have already chalked out creations for video game consoles. Vashi-based Indiagames, one of the older gaming companies, is releasing Cricket Twenty20 on PlayStation soon. “This is a good platform for India to get into console gaming, but our games have to have a universal appeal,” said Vishal Gondal, founder, Indiagames.
At Trine Gaming Studio in Malad, a Ramayana game with a western touch has taken shape for PlayStation 3. The completely Indian Ram will be a master of Kung Fu moves for better global connect. “US publishers have already approached me for Ramayana,” said Sangam Gupta, chief executive officer, Trine Studios. “Indian content has an edge over Japanese and Korean content because it is fresh and unexplored.” Currently, the most popular games are based on American and Japanese themes.