South America has been seen for a long while as an untapped market for the console business, while China is in the process of opening the floodgates to the sale of foreign consoles. Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House weighed in on the market situation of both regions as part of an interview on the Japanese tech site AV Watch.
Here’s a summary of the points he made:
- South America is no longer an “untapped market”. Sony has made progress there during the PS3 generation, for instance with the local production of the PS3 in Brazil, with the effect of being able to sell it at a more appropriate price.
- In South America there were two big barriers: one was piracy, that has been fought with better distribution and sales during the PS3 era. The other was the idea that games are for kids. During the PS2 era in Europe and in the United States games have become a mainstream form of entertainment, and now that happened in South America as well, with the people there reciognizing that “games are cool”.
- China is a completely different market, that had completely different barriers due to regulations from the government.
- When House went to ChinaJoy (the biggest Chinese gaming trade show held in Shanghai) he felt great passion and interest from Chinese gamers. However the market structure is very different there, with PC and free to play games taking the lion’s share.
- While House can’t comment on the recent decisions of the Chinese government, he’s looking forward to the developments of the market there.
- He feels that the form of content distribution in China will be important. While this is only his personal opinion, he thinks that retail distribution won’t grow as fast as in other countries, and a business model that fits China will have to be introduced by combining digital distribution and the PSN.
- That said, he sees that the interest of Chinese customers in games is very high, so that’s a very nice business opportunity.
China is definitely a big untapped market for console manufacturers. Will Sony manage to get the lion’s share there? We’ll have to see about that, but House’s interest definitely seems piqued.