Sony today launched the PlayStation 4 in India at a price of Rs 39,990, while users who want to buy an extra controller will have to shell out Rs 4990 more. The PS4 ‘Eye’ or the motion sensor camera will cost an extra Rs 4990 as well. PS4 users will also have to shell out around Rs 2500 to Rs 5000 for games.
The device will hit the stores in India on 6th January.
Some of the initial launch titles include Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, FIFA 14, Need for Speed Rivals. PS3 users who had bought the PlayStation Plus membership will find that this works with the PS4 as well.
Firstpost spoke to PlayStation India Head Atindriya Bose on the launch price of the device, services that users should expect and what expectations Sony has from the PS4 launch in India. Here are edited excerpts of the interaction.
First do you think the price has been right for the Sony PS4? Do you think the price has been a little bit on the higher side? In the US the console is priced at $399 whichcomes to Rs 25,000 when converted. Wouldn’t the higher India price disappoint fans?
Not, really. We had debated the price when we were launching it. We think the price has to be seen in two contexts. One in terms of the value proposition that the product gives, which is whether the consumers will accept the price. I think for gamers it was within the range of their expectations, so we are quite confident of this price. It could have gone way above.
We also have to look at the profitability and the current tax and high deficit rate, which pushed us to price it much higher. If it was priced lower, would that have been better? Well yes. But I think we’ve managed to keep the right price within the current tax structure. We can’t make the direct conversion from the US price into the Indian price. You have to realise that those conversions are happening sans any tax structures. We have 36 to 37 percent taxes to pay between our import taxes and VAT.
Do you think the growth of tablets and smartphones will affect the gaming market?
In terms of the gaming market, there has been a shift as to how the whole business is running. So where the PS2, which was our entry level gaming console, is concerned, this has been discontinued as we realised that a lot of new gamers are coming in through tablets and mobile phones. But it also gives a huge opportunity for conversion.
In fact, even if you look at the India market today, a lot of people are playing a quality set of games on their mobiles. Once they are done with those games, they want to move on to bigger and better games.
That’s where the next generation console comes up. Which is where the PS3 and PS4 will play an important role. When it comes to the console, user expectations are for bigger and better games. We are seeing conversions from tablets and mobiles. It has already started with the PS3 and even with the PS4 the intial response has been quite good.
PS4 also offers entertainment services like Netflix etc, which are not available in India. So how will that work in India? Are we likely to see some India-based content on the PS4 as well?
Yes, as of now these services are not available in India. But if you look at the Sony ecosystem in India, we are quite well-placed to use localised content, which is non-gaming. We can look within Sony, given that it has huge collection of content both films and music. We are going to evaluate those opportunities as well to see if there is a possibility but for now we don’t have any announcement to make in that regard.
How many units is Sony expecting to sell in India as far as PS4 is concerned?
We don’t really comment on numbers. But just to give a sense of what we are expecting, in the first quarter we will end up selling what we sold in the second or third year of the PS3. It’s a substantial number.
In terms of sell-through, in about a week’s time, we shall see 90 percent sales in the hands of consumers. We are expecting almost 50 to 55 percent pre-bookings in India and the rest will be people lining up to buy the device. In terms of total install base PS3 has around 250,000 in India, while PS2 has a million units. PS4 will be far higher and bigger than this. We have to understand that when we launched PS2 in India in 2007, India had no gaming. Now we have over 50-60 million people gaming, thanks to mobiles, etc, and the community is much more vibrant.