Saturday, November 10, 2007

Video Gaming: Pali Hill, Dharavi, and Beyond

I've recently seen two interesting types of video game establishments in Bombay, India: a miniature classic arcade in Dharavi, and a Playstation room at Pali Hill.

In the Dharavi Labor Camp, a small (5'x6') room holds two arcade consoles. Games were ~2 rupees (5 cents). This price point seemed to attract young kids. They were playing some street-fighter type game.

Then you have a Playstation Shop near Pali Hill. Pali Hill is one of the wealthiest parts of Bombay, and since there is a 35% tax on imported 'luxury' electronics, Playstations are rare even among the rich. In this picture we see a slightly older, substantially more affluent demographic playing Fifa (sorry for the terrible picture--I'll go back and reshoot, promise). Nevertheless, I wouldn't call this fancy.

Many are looking at India's ~$45 million online gaming video game market as a major opportunity. China's online video game market shot from ~$50 million to nearly $1 billion in 6 years, due to a rapid increase in the popularity of online games.

India's game market, however, is unlikely to see such growth, as the internet infrastructure necessary for this market to blossom is absent. Nevertheless, two major online gaming sites in India, and, are advertising heavily to promote their India-centric online gaming sites (go to Zapak to play "Meter-Down", the truly fun 3-d rickshaw racing game).


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