In the recent Killzone 3 launch event in India, we got a chance to speak with Mr Atindriya Bose, Sony Computer Entertainment India boss, and ask him a few questions. We asked him about Killzone 3, the NGP and other interesting stuff. He’s given us a lot of information. Give it a read and leave your feedback behind!
GamingBolt: With Killzone 3 launching in India today, how excited are you?
Atindriya Bose: I am very excited. Two things- we are coordinating such big, iconic game. We continue to coordinate with the world market to be there at the important time. We were not a market in terms of gaming previously. Games used to come in later, the gamers had to wait for these kind of iconic items. Games are being released in full glory now. Previously we were doing only the standard packs. Now, from day one, we have the Standard pack, the Collector’s edition and the Ultimate edition as well. The shows the way, and the pace with which the gaming market is emerging in India and I feel very proud about it.
The second thing is, obviously, what Killzone 3 is bringing to the table for the first time in FPS’s- the 3D functionalities and the motion sensing functionality. These two are going to redefine what the Killzone 3, or any FPS, experience is about.
GB: This is a very exciting time for gamers in India, what with us having such a large scale launch function for a game. My question is, will Sony be having similar kinds of launch parties for other upcoming games like inFamous 2, or Resistance 3 in the future?
AB: Yes. See, now we are clear that the market in India has opened up wide enough, and is getting wider. Two categories are emerging, as we always expected them to. We are getting the new gamers on board, with larger family audiences. And you have the core gamers’ community, who are now becoming mature and more active. Previously, there were core gamers, and they were active. But they were not as active. The online functionalities and us bringing in new games like this has helped keep them satiated. So, like Killzone 3, everything that is worth a launch will get a launch. So you have a Resistance coming up. You have Uncharted 3 coming up. So we will pick and choose, and definitely keep doing things that will keep this gamers’ community very active and happy about what is happening with Indian gaming.
On the other side, on a more mass market level, you will see we are still focusing on things that will appeal to the family audiences, that are more “shareable” amongst the wider audiences, because they are perhaps the biggest channels that India has in gaming. The world talks about 70% penetration, we talk about 2% penetration, and then categorize our priorities. So we are still pretty small in gaming. So that is a very big segment of the market.
But we are not making any compromises. You are seeing a launch party for Killzone 3, we did one for God of War III, and we might be doing Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 launch parties. On the immediate basis, we have MotorStorm: Apocalypse coming up. That will be more like a trade level, as it’s a very core game, but the experience still has a much wider mass appeal, because racing games are basically pick up and play. So that’s how we categorize every game, and plan things accordingly.
GB: So basically it depends on the type of the game?
AB: Yes, it does.
GB: Killzone 3 is an absolute graphical beast. My question is, does it utilize 100% of the PlayStation 3’s power, or is there still something that the developers can churn out?
AB: See, that’s too technical a question for me to answer, very honestly. But what I will say is that we always look at these kind of franchises as never-ending tenures. Like with franchises like Killzone and God of War, we always come up with something new with each installment. So it’s not that we have optimized all of the PS3’s powers, but Killzone 3 still is a huge improvement based on all the feedback we got for Killzone 2.
Because we have not compromised on any of the good aspects of Killzone 2. And we have also introduced features like 3D and motion gaming. And there was a huge amount of attention to incorporating those two features in the game. So basically, the developers have come up with the best solution to making Killzone 3 the best game that they can. But it is also an opportunity for future improvements.
GB: So, you just said this game has 3D. Do you actually think gamers will go out and buy 3DTVs just for this game?
AB: I think so. See, consumers now understand that it’s not about hardware. It’s all about content. And the content drives the hardware. Even 3D tech is growing based on the content you are getting. And in the 3D space, I think currently there is nothing as immersive as a gaming software. And with 3D, gaming seems to be a better experience for that gamer. It’s not that just Killzone 3 will make gamers go and buy 3D TVs. So many 3D games are being rolled out, like MotorStorm: Apocalypse that’s going to come in soon. And even when I look at the future lineup of games, there are just so many 3D games and 3D enhancements. People will have the confidence that there will be enough content to have that immersive feeling, which is what drives the PS3 and the 3D experience, and therefore people will go in for 3DTVs. And this is where lies Sony’s strength, this is where we integrate. So when we make claims like the 3D world being created by Sony, we are talking right from the televisions, to our playback unit which is the PS3, to our photography units which are the cameras that allows you to take 3D photographs, and go right up in terms of content, whether it is movies or games. So if the 3D world is being redefined by Sony, it is only Sony and no other company who can do it individually.
GB: Now, the First Person genre is a very competitive one, with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Halo: Reach and EA’s upcoming Bulletstorm. How will you make sure Killzone 3 is not only ahead, but that it also beats the competition.
AB: See, every competition in terms of a franchise has a shackle, and they’re not separate segments. But as a system seller and PS3 exclusive, this is a franchise that has always been supported by the PS3 owners and the new gamers, and I think it will continue to do that. I see the gaming world like the movie industry- this movie is better than the other movie. This game or movie is worse than the other game… or movie. So no game can have an impact on a select set of audiences. Killzone 3 has a large franchise appeal, that I think, will hold on. The competition also has a franchise appeal that will hol on as well. But with KIllzone, with Move and 3D, what people will see is that we are experimenting- they don’t belong to other franchises.
GB: One of the best features in Killzone 3 was the offline co-op mode. But I was pretty disappointed with the lack of online co-op. Are the developers working on a patch so that buddies can get along online to play Killzone 3?
AB: There is no information yet, for me to be able to comment on. But online and all the functionalities are possibilities. But there is nothing that I can confirm right now.
GB: When Killzone 3 ends, there are some strong hints at Killzone 4. What are your thoughts on this? Will we have a Killzone 4?
AB: See, I have not seen it in any product lineup, that I can confirm. And if it does exist, we cannot really tell many people about it. It’s difficult to comment. But it’s a numerical order- we had Killzone 1, then 2, then 3. Killzone is a franchise we have invested in, it is a franchise we know does wonders for us, and therefore it’s a franchise that we’ll always back up.
GB: Okay, this question doesn’t have much to do with Killzone 3. But Sony’s doing pretty well in the First Person genre. There’s Killzone 3, and there were Resistance 1 and 2, which were absolutely loved by fans. How do you think the third installment will revolutionize the genre?
AB: Right now, I have nothing specific on Resistance 3.
GB: The NGP was just announced some time ago. How do you think it’ll revolutionize handheld gaming? Do you think people will want to play console games on their handheld device rather than “handheld” games while they’re travelling?
AB: With the NGP, you will still have a handheld market, just like the PSP. It will co-exist with the PS3 in the market. The NGP has the dual touch screen, which truly revolutionizes the handheld gaming space, and does it quite well. I have personally played quite a few games on the NGP. I can assure you that it enhances both, the handheld and the gaming market. During the development of the games on the NGP, we are looking at both kinds of games. In any way, we do not compromise our core audience. Our first and foremost aim is to enhance their experience. Out second priority is to make sure we can broaden our horizons. Now take my word for it, the NGP will bring in broader audiences, it will bring in very good casual games, and they can be played very easily, with no button controls. At the same time, you will be playing iconic PlayStation games, using either the back touch pad or the front touch pad. And it’s a redefining experience.
GB: Any closing comments regarding Killzone 3 or Sony India in general?
AB: Here at Sony Computer Entertainment, from the PlayStation’s point of view, we are even more positive than we were a year ago. We have always been very positive about it, and we look at the India market as a very important market, bound to grow. And everything that we have expected to happen here in India in terms of gaming is happening. And the numbers we are generating are impressive. Like with games like Killzone 3 and God of War III, in a meeting, I no longer have to hide the numbers, scribble them and pass them on. I can tell of them very boldly. There are many people who will be wowed- India is generating those numbers!
I think it will be a few more years, that I can say, before people will say- can I do India numbers? I still say, can I do their numbers? In another two years, things will change. But it appears as if the numbers we are getting, the growth is doubling on a year-to-year basis. Like the PSP is showing a good growth. PS2 still holds attention, unlike the world. But we have just rolled out a scheme for every PS2 for the summer season, in which we will be giving two games free. So while in the rest of the world, people don’t really talk about the PS2 anymore, in India it’s an important console. But why are we pushing the PS2 so much? Because even if we manage to sell a 200,000 PS2s this year, 90% of them are bound to upgrade to the PS3 sooner or later. So we’re creating a base. Gaming has to become a habit. That’s what we are thriving for. We have a good portfolio strategy, we have a good set of games. I think the market is now starting to open up.
We want to thank Mr Atindriya Bose for taking out the time to answer our questions.
Leave behind your comments and tell us what you think!
Note: The interview was transcribed by Shubankar Parijat.