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While still classed as an emerging market, India has one of the fastest-growing games sectors in the world. James Batchelor looks at how competitive pricing is bringing gaming to the Indian mainstream

GAMING is still a new proposition for the average Indian consumer. While consoles and the PC have always been present, the high cost of hardware and software has meant that only the wealthiest families could afford them. However, this is rapidly changing as the nation’s economy grows year after year. Prices are lowering, gamers no longer have to import the latest releases, and local games firms are eager to maintain this momentum. “The opportunity of conversion is enormous and the fast growth of the business segment proves the same,” says Atindriyia Bose, Sony’s country head for India. “Also, from the consumer adoption perspective, the potential business for international content is increasing


Although piracy remains one of the biggest challenges in the market, steps are being taken to combat this. “There has been a concerted effort

to keep the prices down to reduce the consumer’s propensity to buy pirated games” says distributor Milestone’s chairman and CEO Jayont R. Sharma.

26 December 3rd 2010

due to growing acceptance of English language. Gaming has started to be considered a meaningful entertainment.” The result has been a dramatic shift in retail. Distributors Milestone Interactive and E-Xpress Interactive have both opened the region’s first specialist games stores with Game4U and Games The Shop respectively. The two chains are catering to the increased demand for new games – evidenced by the strong turnout for Games The Shop’s midnight launch of Gran Turismo 5, a first for the nation. And games fever is spreading to other outlets. “There has been a tremendous change, with more retailers treating games as a category,” explains Milestone’s chairman and CEO


High taxes have made it difficult for companies to keep prices competitive. “The high customs duties and taxes have made legitimate console hardware and software 40 per cent more expensive than grey import markets,” says Anand Khemani, director of distributor E-Xpress Interactive.


The main software opportunities remain focused around PC and the three Sony formats. The PS3 in particular has more than doubled its hardware and software sales since the 2009 price drop. The Xbox 360 performs well enough but Wii and DS software sales are negligible.

Games The Shop is creating a new breed of outlets that specialise in gaming.

Anand Khemani, E-Xpress

Jayont R. Sharma. “There are now skilled teams managing this category and there have been large investments by retailers, who understand the potential of gaming, to drive the growth.

“What has also helped align the retailers’ focus on gaming is the entrance of specialist retailers, which has brought the best international practices in games retail to the Indian market.” E-Xpress Interactive’s director Anand Khemani adds: “Outlets like Games The Shop are creating an infrastructure to showcase the gaming products and create awareness. This is creating a new breed of outlets, which specialises in gaming. This has shown a tremendous result.”

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