Free devkits part of Sony's Indian games industry assault

Free devkits part of Sony's Indian games industry assault
Michael French

By Michael French

April 20th 2008 at 10:01AM

Platform-holder doing 'whatever it takes' to help India's developers make games for their local market

SCEE has kick-started a new strategy aimed at driving the games industry in India, saying it would provide financial and technical assistance to local developers in order to help them build content for Indian gamers.

The news came as part of the recent deal to develop a new game inspired by the Hindu Hanuman monkey god.

Sony recently held a DevStation event in India to help drive awareness of development practices. 50 developers from some 13 companies attended to learn about formats including the PS2.

The format launched in India in 2003, but the territory has in recent years found itself the primary target for outsourcing - now, SCEE said, it wants to help those firms go beyond service work to full development.

"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," Zeno Colaco, SCEE's vice-president, publisher and developer relations, told Indian site Sify Business.

Colaco said SCEE will publish games by local developers, and provide technical help and that "agreements with more than one company have been signed, but it is too soon to give out the names".

Sony is also looking at ways to reduce the financial cost of games development in the region. That's by funding projects - or providing games technology for free.

Atindriya Bose, country manager at Sony Computer Entertainment explained :"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."

The Sify report adds that a mix of elements, from increasingly sophisticated Indian games and ideas to cheaper resource, are helping win Sony over.

Plus, its local games industry is booming.

"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.