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BRICS and Beyond for the Microconsoles
by James Coote on 01/12/13 02:38:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 


Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise, but when the team behind OUYA, the $99 android-based 'micro console', released statistics back in the summer, on where their backers were from, there was a definite trend for support beyond the traditional markets for games. Their latest statistics on visits to their website by country back up that trend.

 

Not just the BRICS countries, but other nations with burgeoning middle classes such as Mexico and Indonesia have suddenly come up on the radar. The spread of broadband internet and mobile devices has gone hand in hand with development in these countries. Whole generations are being exposed to games through their smartphones, and there is no reason why a latent 'hardcore gamer' market does not exist in these countries too.

 

In the past, these places have been ignored by console makers. Rampant piracy and the prohibitively high cost of hardware to the consumer made the decision not to pursue developing markets a no-brainer. However, whilst by no means solved, ubiquitous internet combined with online authentication, and free-to-play games have proved their effectiveness beyond doubt in mitigating the effects of piracy

 

For many, middle-classdom is relative to your country's exchange rate with the dollar, and the difference between $100 for a new micro-console vs even $150 for a current (soon to be last) gen from one of the big three is not to be sniffed at. And good luck finding disks for the latest releases.

 

There is a golden opportunity for the new entrants in the console market to gain the loyalty of vast swathes of neglected gamers. Two of the things gamasutra highlighted in their roundup of CES were micro-consoles and the increasing importance of the developing world. Perhaps it's time to put two and two together

Note: My company is currently making a game for the Ouya, so I have a vested interest in it succeeding


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