The PlayStation 4’s (PS4) launch has been substantial to the gaming market in India where gaming has been deemed as an expensive hobby. In a country like India whose large share of people live under an average of $3.10 (₹220.79) per day, video games are regarded as an improvident burden on family finances especially when even the daily necessities are not met. Even for people who hold jobs in the urban centres, the average income is 6-10 times lesser than similar work in the US. With such a huge gap between income and expenditure, a middle class Indian has to work at least 9-10 times harder to afford a PS4.

The PlayStation 4 was launched at a smashing ₹39,990 in India. Between the year 2002 and 2007, when PlayStation consoles were launched in India alongside Xbox ones, this was quite a market-building effort. The mass base in India has broadened over the last one and a half year, the credit solely going to the smartphones and tablets revolution. Games for the PlayStation 4 cost over ₹3,000-₹4,000 which is a luxury for most people. Most of the time, these games have a dozen clones or replicas for mobile devices that players can grab for free or for just around ₹99 to ₹199. However, young gamers have eventually realised that mobile games are repetitive and they are looking for something that offers a minimal degree of immersive experience.

The size of the console gaming market in India is estimated to be around ₹700 Crore (7 billion) to ₹750 Crore (7.5 billion) at the basic consumer level; ₹450 Crore (4.5 billion) for hardware and ₹250-300 Crore (2.5-3 billion) for software. Between 2007 and 2012, the business growth was almost 33 to 35 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) driven by the PS2. In the initial 2 hours after the launch of PS4, almost the whole stock of 2013’s worth of PS3 was sold. The number of monthly active users (MAU) on PlayStation Network worldwide from the year 2014 to 2018 accounts as follows-

The unofficial estimates show that 250,000 units of PS4 were sold and a mere 30,000 of Xbox One consoles were sold. The head of Sony PlayStation claims that in India, around 7 to 8 million people play on the console regularly. The recent data further reveals that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One in India, which is no surprise.

The worldwide sales of PS4 accounts for 91.6 million as of December 31, 2018. The PS4 holds a market share of at least 70% within all European countries (as of June 2015). According to the console operating system market share in India, PlayStation accounts for 78.74%, Xbox for 20.45% and Nintendo for 0.81% as of December 2018. Sony revealed that there were more than 70 million monthly active PlayStation Network users at the culmination of the fiscal year of 2016.

PlayStation Plus is a necessity for online multiplayer on the PS4 console which ushers in benefits such as discounts on games and movies, as well as free games every month. The global records suggest that around 34.3 million users are subscribed to PlayStation Plus. The service saw a price hike in India almost two years ago and there is an ambiguous explanation to this. Most people claimed it was so because of the recent implementation of the GST policy while others denied and said it was to ensure parity across the regions. With the PS4 Pro’s delayed launch in India, and the cost of it valued much higher, hardcore gamers were left with two choices: to import it, or to buy it from the grey market. What’s the grey market? We’ll explain it bit-by-bit in a future article.

Among the most played games on the PS4 in the year 2017, Call of Duty: World War II, Destiny 2, Friday the 13th: The Game, Horizon Zero Dawn, Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K18, Rocket League, Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition, Madden NFL18 and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands to name a few. The sales of other popular games such as Detroit: Become Human is recorded at 1,154,630 copies sold, Assassins Creed Odyssey is recorded at 1,353,686 copies sold, NBA 2K18 is recorded at 1,363,514 copies sold and Madden NFL 19 is recorded at 1,379,833 copies sold.

The following table shows the breakdown of age groups of online gamers across India in 2016 with a prediction for 2021-

Studies indicate that teenagers under supervision should only engage in video games for one to three hours. Beyond that, they start to take a negative toll on them. Some gamers admit to spending more than 10 hours playing video games every day, which, if seen practically, isn’t a thing to be proud of.

In India, the Xbox One X was rated the top console followed by the PS4 Pro. The various features of the two have led to serious competition, but it is observed that the PlayStation 4 Pro is preferred widely. Since it is more popular, people expecting to buy the console are more likely to take a better deal. PS4 games are easily accessible compared to Xbox games. More players on the same console also mean that games can be easily exchanged. Moreover, most Indians prefer mobiel and PC gaming rather than consoles, and most Xbox games can be played on a PC. Such factors lead to the PS4 being a more common choice than the Xbox which could be judged as a futile investment.

Though there is some competition, the PS4 is still one of the most preferred and highly used gaming consoles in India. The exorbitant cost of consoles in India has led to an increase in the number of PC gamers. But in the long race among consoles, PS4 has always had a way with its users and has been ahead of its all-time rival, the Xbox.

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We’re sincerely grateful towards NDTV Gadgets(1), (2), (3), (4), (5)Quora, DailyHunt, Forbes, Business Insider, News 18, Gamespot(1), (2), 247WallST, PlayStation LifeStyle and Statista for helping us in making this article possible.

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