Sony Computer Entertainment, maker of the PlayStation, is set to push into the gaming development arena in India.
Zeno Colaco, vice-president, publisher and developer relations, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told DNA Money this could be through financial help or technical assistance, or "whatever it takes" to bring the domestic developers to cater to the rising global demand for content.
"There is a lot of talent in India and their work can be exported worldwide. We want to take the concept of outsourcing a little further to the extent that Indian developers can create games and content in entirety and may be they can even publish it themselves then," said Colaco.
And how does Sony plan to do this?
For starters, the company organised a developers' conference, its first outside of the UK, here on Wednesday. More than 50 developers from 13 odd companies convened here.
Going forward, it plans to publish games in association with developers here.
Colaco said if there is a team which has a great idea but is only good on the creative front, Sony Computer Entertainment will help it with the technical development part.
Also, partnerships are on their way. "Agreements with more than one company have been signed, but it is too soon to give out the names" he said.
Games will be published out of these new partnerships within a year, he said.
Next would be steps to bring down the cost of production for Indian developers. This would mean financial assistance – as long as an idea sounds impressive to the gaming giant, funds will flow easy. The officials, though, refrained from giving specific investment numbers.
And there's more.
Atindriya Bose, country manager, Sony Computer Entertainment said, "We are also providing development tool kits, which are quite expensive otherwise, for free to projects that we believe have the potential. Any sort of technical assistance needed by developers will be provided. We might bring down engineers from our research and development centres in Europe."
A major challenge that developers face in gaming is compatibility with consoles. To overcome this, Sony has brought in two companies which provide middlewares.
But, why is there so much attention on India? For one, human resource in India is cheaper than elsewhere so the cost of development is less. Secondly, Indian content is fast reaching international standards. And third, the content is getting more creative by the day. At Sony, experts are betting on Indian mythology, particularly given the success they have had with Japanese mythology. Hence, a Hanuman game in association with Hyderabad-based Aurona Technology will soon hit the markets.
A fourth reason is the sheer number of consumers in India.
"Sales of PSP and PS2 have gone up six times while software sales have gone up 10 times in the last couple of years. We are adding 8,000 units of PS2 to the already existing 3,25,000 console base," said Bose.
"We feel emerging markets are much more accepting of the gaming culture. So, unlike our competitors who focus only on few markets, we are focusing on catering to new audiences." said Colaco.
Sony's plans should be music to the ears of local game developers, so far used to bits and pieces of outsourcing. Before long, they would be making entire games right here. According to the 2008 Ficci report on Indian Media and Entertainment Industry, the local gaming industry stood at Rs 270 crore at the end of 2007, up 32% from Rs 205 crore in 2006.
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