Round 5: Interview with Atindriya Bose

We last spoke to Atindriya Bose (country manager for Sony Computer Entertainment India) just a few months ago, but there’s been a lot to talk about since then, especially after an eventful E3 last month. We caught up with the PlayStation India boss to get some important updates on India’s PSN Store, collector’s editions, PlayStation Move, and his views on the prospects of 3D in India, the competition, and lots more.

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First and foremost, when is India getting its PSN Store?

We still don’t have a specific date, but the Store is in the final phases of implementation, and we’re gunning for Diwali. So PSN will be there with the PSN Store, but it will be only the game store. The video and comic stores will take time because we need country-specific permissions.

Will we be able to buy content, or will it only be demos and free content?

We will have paid content as well, but we are yet to finalise the currency. We are also looking at the viability of PSN cards, but we’ll have to first figure out the implications of VAT, Service Tax, etc.

So is there a possibility that it would be in Rupees?

We don’t know yet. We’re still waiting for a decision on that from Japan. But while we await clarifications on all that, we’re already moving towards setting up PSN here. We’re in the process of setting up call centres for level 1 customer service as well.

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Will we also get the PlayStation Plus service, which was announced at E3?

It’s not decided yet. The first priority is to get the PlayStation Store up and running. Plus is a very good service, and if we can get the pricing right, we can definitely bring that as well. Right now, we just want to get things rolling. Then once we have the basics in place, we can bring in the add-on services one by one. In Europe, every market that has the Store automatically has the Plus option. So I don’t see any major obstacle preventing us from offering the PlayStation Plus service.

Many games now come with codes that are used to unlock certain features or bonus content, and these often require Store access. So will the Store content be compatible with the games that are released here, with respect to region?

Yes, with the Store coming in, those issues will be taken care of, and now you will be able to get that DLC off the Indian PSN Store itself.

One of the biggest reasons behind people wanting an Indian PSN Store is so that Sony will start releasing collector’s editions of its games, which usually have Store content. So with the Store coming soon, will you be releasing collector’s editions of Sony titles here?

Yes, we will. Previously, we used to lose out on collector’s editions because of the Store content that came with them. But these will now be launched, so you will now have the game at Rs 2,499 and the collector’s edition at a higher price.

Gran Turismo 5?

For GT5, there are two collector’s editions. One is the game plus some added content and collectibles, which (has already been announced), while the other is in a really big package with a lot of paraphernalia that goes beyond the game. It’s all car-related, but I’m unaware of the exact contents. That being so expensive, we may not directly order it from Europe, but we could bring in limited quantities from Sony in the Middle East. We’ll also be working with Mercedes in some way around the GT5 launch, but we’re yet to decide the specifics of that.

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Will we get PlayStation Move at the same time as the rest of the world?

The worldwide date is 15th September. We’re aiming to get it simultaneously, but it’s a question of logistics. So if the logistics work in our favour, there’s no reason why we can’t launch on 15th September. At worst, there may be a 10-15-day delay, but not more than that.

What will the pricing be like and what configurations will Move be available in?

Pricing isn’t finalised yet. We’ve kept the $100 figure in mind for the start-up bundle (which includes a Move controller, PlayStation Eye, and a game or demo disc) and we don’t want to exceed that. We’re aiming for a pricing of around Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500. In terms of products, we will have them all – the Move controller, the navigation controller, the PlayStation Eye, and maybe even the gun attachment.

Will all the PlayStation Move titles be available in India as they launch internationally?

Yes, all the games will come to India. Then there are games like Heavy Rain, which will be enhanced with Move support. These games will also be relaunched; the Move support won’t be added via DLC.

Will the pricing for the Move titles be lower than the standard Rs 2,499 price point?

Yes, these will carry a mid-range pricing of around Rs 1,799 or Rs 1,899.

Next page: 3D, PS3 service and support

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