Atindriya Bose hopes the launch of PlayStation Move will convince more non-gamers to pick up game consoles, which, he says, are perfect “digital distribution platforms” for all kinds of entertainment. He spoke to Lounge about Indian gamers, street cricket and the success of Hanuman: Boy Warrior. Edited excerpts:
How many PlayStations are there in India?
We’re adding about 400,000 consoles a year—50% of that is PlayStation 2 (PS2) sales, and the PlayStation Portable (PSP) makes up about 35%. The PlayStation 3 (PS3) shifts about 4,000-5,000 units a month, and we hope to have an install base of 100,000 PS3s by March 2011.
What games do well in India?
All the international biggies do well here. Core gamers are up-to-date and well-versed with what’s big and what’s upcoming. A God of War III, for example, sold around 20,000 units. A big PS2 title does about 15,000 units, while a PSP title does about 8,000. With Move, we’re hoping to broadbase this. It could work—it’s casual, yet high quality.
Charged: Atindriya Bose.
Last year, you released two games with India-specific content developed by local studios ‘Hanuman: Boy Warrior’ and ‘Desi Adda: Games of India’. How have they done in the market?
As stand-alone titles, pretty decently. Hanuman sold about 9,000 units, while Desi Adda did around 5,000. If you count total sales after we bundled the games with the PS2 and PSP, respectively, it’s 90,000 units for Hanuman and 40,000 for Desi Adda.
But with bundles, you’re essentially forcing people to play those games. Is that a good indicator of how well they’ve done?
Yes, we are pre-deciding what a buyer’s first experience with our consoles will be, but you have to realize that this first experience is important to us. We don’t want new gamers picking up a PS2 and having a poor first game. With these bundles, we have received a positive response.
What other India-specific games is Sony working on?
We have three titles coming up. The first, tentatively titled Street Cricket Champions, will be launched by Diwali for the PS2 and PSP. It’s developed by Trine Game Studios, and it’s an interesting take on street cricket. We expect it to sell about 10,000 units stand-alone by the end of the year.
The second is a bullock-cart racing game that Gameshastra is working on. The third is a historical strategy/war game that features Chandragupta. These we hope to release by December.
Are you planning to open the PlayStation Store in India?
The PlayStation Store will be switched on by the end of the year. All the games will be available for purchase in Indian rupees. But movies and comics will not be available just yet.