PlayStation’s ‘India Hero Project’ to cultivate the nation’s gaming talent
The ‘India Hero Project’ is a scheme which will allow the nation’s indie developers to pitch to a committee of nine Sony employees. Financial, technical, and marketing support will be offered to the best demos and Sony may even publish games directly.
The gaming market in India is currently worth an estimated $868m which is expected to double by 2027, according to data from analytics firm Niko Partners.
As of 2023, the world’s most populous nation (1.4bn) boasts the title of the fastest growing video game market within Asia and Sony is keen to cultivate its burgeoning talent pool.
Having already tapped into a host of previously undiscovered developers within China, Sony’s ‘India Hero Project’ will imminently offer indie-game makers the chance to pitch their game to a PlayStation committee of nine members.
Those who impress will be offered financial, technical, and marketing support from Sony’s experts and may be given the chance to see their title join the PlayStation 5 roster.
The same scheme has boasted great success in China since its 2016 foray, birthing the likes of F.I.S.T: Forged in Shadow Torch and hotly anticipated games Awaken: Astral Blade and Daba: Land of Water Scar, among others. India, Sony executives hope, will now begin to join this developer ecosystem.
Despite being home to 500m gamers (as of 2021), just 21% of early respondents for the scheme said they had previously worked on console games before, instead opting to hone their focus and craft on developing for mobile or PC.
This isn’t exactly a surprise, given the recent advances in affordable smartphones coupled with government investment in high-speed internet accessibility. Console players make up a meagre portion of the nation’s current gaming community, but it is growing nonetheless.
‘Our focus is the console in the living room, so we are prioritising that, but you never know what you will find,’ said Sony’s third-party business lead Hector Fernandez. ‘I certainly wouldn’t want to turn away a great game just because it’s not on console.’
We’ve already seen a willingness to port popular mobile games by rival Microsoft, with the recent acquisition of King and Candy Crush’s arrival on Game Pass. Sony now infers that it may be keen to follow suit.
Whatever their chosen medium, developers who are selected by Sony will receive specialist training to apply their skill set within the PS5 ecosystem.
That means tutorials for specific things like making use of the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, or maximising the console’s ultra-fast SSD memory will be encouraged.
As well as seizing an opportunity to boost sales within a booming new market, Sony claims that ‘cultural relevance’ is high on the agenda too.
‘Every country around the world wants to tell its own story, and we believe in that,’ says Fernandez. ‘You can see that with a game like Genshin Impact coming out of China and becoming super popular in the West and in Japan.’
As many as 25% of entries thus far have arrived from developers pitching adventure games, suggesting India’s game makers concur with this sentiment and are eager to provide fresh experiences and perspectives.
It will certainly be interesting to see the nation become better represented within the industry and the fictional worlds we gamers invest so much time in. Our libraries will be all the richer for it… and so will Sony, naturally.