With 80 per cent of the revenues lost to piracy, the legal Indian software gaming market is a meagre $30 million industry, of which mobile gaming and internet-based gaming contribute $8 million each in revenues.
“By 2010-11, the software gaming industry will be $700 million in size and console,mobile and broadband or internet-based gaming will each be one-third of the pie,” says Rajesh Jain, executive director, KPMG.
Dominated by players like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, the console market looks at redefining the user experience as industry players set to unleash the next generation or the seventh generation of gaming experience – defined as an era of hi-definition content and greater software interactivity akin to real-world experience.
So far, Microsoft is the only player in this category with Xbox 360 and has registered sales of 55 lakh units since its launch in November 2005.
Sourabh Kaushal, program manager, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan notes, “The climb towards the next generation gaming market will reach a pinnacle by 2006 year-end as Nintendo’s (Wii or ‘Revolution’) and Sony (Playstation3) Playstation 3 are released.”
Playstation3 will be released globally in November and no specific release date has been announced for Wii.
Not worried about the headstart that Microsoft has gained in the next-gen gaming space, Jayant Sharma, chairman and CEO, Milestone Interactive, engaged in marketing of digital devices, interactive games and media, points out that in the console market in India Sony has a 100 per cent market share and 70 per cent globally.
Its strategy for the price-sensitive market of India, he says, “will be to promote Playstation2 aggresively and pitch the Playstion3 against the Xbox360”. The Xbox 360 will be retailed at prices of Rs 19,900 and Rs 23,900.
Another high growth area is internet/ broadband-based gaming with over a lakh of cybercafes spread across the country. “There are gaming contests held every week as against once every three months previously. This is only possible as gaming parlours are seeing phenonmenal growth and are registering 100 per cent traffic as compared to 60-70 per cent last year,” says L Subramanian, CEO, Jasubhai Digital Media.
Also on the rise is the subscription model being pioneered by broadband players as a way to attract and retain customers. Compelling gaming content as a value-added service is also the strategy that telcos along with the broadband players have adopted as a way to drive the market and the average revenue per user (ARPU).
It’s not only consoles that are migrating to hi-definition, but even chip-makers like ATI and Nvidia that have introduced graphics processors that create on-screen special effects in real time that weren’t possible before.
Chris Hook, head of public relations, Europe, Middle East and Africa, ATI Technologies (GmbH), says, “The trend clearly is High Dynamic Range, that’s the ability to deliver a range of colours that mimics reality almost to perfection.
It’s a technology that brings incredible realism to games, and only ATI can offer it alongside Anti-Aliasing, a technology that removes the ‘jaggies’ from the edges of objects in 3D games. Unified Shaders, like in the Xbox architecture, are coming soon to PCs, which will dramatically improve the efficiency of the graphics processing engine.”
So, sit back and enjoy as the clear winner this time round is bound to be the gamers!