The avid, core gamer, hunched over the console, is quite a familiar entity to most marketers and has been fed with core action games regularly by players such as Sony. But now, newer consumer segments are emerging.
Atindriya Bose, country manager - Playstation, Sony Computer Entertainment says, “PSP or Playstation portable finds itself lapped up largely by youngsters in the age group of nine to 14 years. The more complex games are appreciated by college-going students. However, our games such as Singstar Bollywood and those revolving around quizzes also involve an older audience and even the female audience. These games are appealing to a wider group.” Singstar Bollywood is a console game that involves two contestants or parties in a singing competition. Singstar and Buzz are franchises of Sony.
Bose estimates that the console gaming market is set to grow to $125 million by 2012. Sony Computer Entertainment's future plans are a good indicator of the importance it gives to the new consumers of console games. Bose says, “Before the summer holiday season, we are planning to introduce close to 20 party games – eight in the music genre, eight related to quizzing and five toy games.”
Bose adds that it is necessary to come up with a game every month as sales of games contributes to 40 per cent of its revenues with the rest coming from the sale of Playstations. A lot of these games are priced at Rs 1,500. Sony has recently introduced a racing game called Gran Turismo 5 for Playstation 3, and God of War: Chains of Olympus, on Playstation Portable.
Sony and Microsoft have been the major contenders for the console gaming market. However, while Microsoft used aggressive advertising and got brand ambassadors Akshay Kumar and Yuvraj Singh on board to promote Xbox 360, it sales do not seem to be encouraging. Moreover, Sony’s slashing of prices of its Playstation versions in reaction to a booming grey market has also helped it gain a competitive edge. At Microsoft's gaming vertical in India, Mohit Anand, entertainment & devices manager, recently put in his papers.
Bose says that while Playstation 2 will have an installed base of 3,25,000 units by March 31, 2008 in India, the Playstation portable will close the year with 65,000 units and Playstation 3 will show sales of 12,000 to 14,000 units.
The price of the Playstation 3 is about Rs 24,000. Bose also said that Sony is in talks with various Indian game developers and may soon come up with a game totally developed in India. Sony's marketing budget this year would be upwards of Rs 10 crore although it may consider television advertising only next year.
As per the latest Ficci-PwC report on the Indian entertainment and media industry, the total gaming market is expected to grow from Rs 2.7 billion in 2007 to Rs 14 billion by 2012 through a cumulative growth of 39 per cent over the next five years. Console gaming is expected to grow by 18 per cent over the next five years, driven by falling console prices and local availability of games.