Asia vs. South America

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by kglarsen, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    When looking through the forums, it seems like that a lot of indies who try not limiting their promotional effords to the "traditional" markets: North American, Western Europe and Australia aim towards Asia, especially Japan, South Korea and recently China. My thoughts are then: are the benefits of this work enough to justify the work involved? It seems that at least the japanese market is extremely hard to get into, since they focus mostly on japanese-themed games.
    The genre this post is based on is simulation games. Again, Asia seems to be nearly impossible to approach since they look to prefer more casual games and action oriented games... So where can you then go if you want to go outside the Euro/American markets?
    According to this article:
    http://seriousgamesmarket.blogspot.com/2010/01/brazils-video-game-ecosystem-superior.html Brazil (and maybe other mayor South American countries) could be highly interesting markets for simulation games - here I figure that serious gaming has a loose/tight relation to simulation games. This of course would require that you translate your game to portuguese (and spanish if you want to approach other South American markets).

    My point with this post is, has anyone tried to seriously approach the South American market, and maybe as a supplement or replacement of the Asian market?
     
  2. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    From what I've been told by friends from that region, there's a huge amount of piracy there, so I cant believe there's that much to be gained, but thats only second hand anecdote rather than evidence one way or another.

    I'd be interested to hear any solid stories of this from others.
     
  3. SLotman

    Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    9
    I am from Brazil, and believe me, piracy is an issue here. Things are slowly changing, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to take "an extra effort" in translating to Brazilian Portuguese, unless it is very, very cheap to do it (that's for the casual market - for AAA/MMO games, there are people interested in purchasing original copies, so it may be interesting for those cases)
     
  4. Ricardo C

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,349
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm originally from Venezuela, and lived there till I relocated to the US early this year. Piracy isn't just a problem, it's the status quo.

    From the early days of home video (think Beta, not even VHS), piracy has been a huge issue in my home country. Entire stores would be built around the concept of selling copied tapes. Sure, you could buy originals, but there was no legal deterrent to those selling pirated goods.

    Now? It's even worse. Access to foreign currency is tightly regulated by the government, so most businesses end up purchasing their dollars/euros in the black market, which means that when the imported product finally makes it to our shores (and the palms of several customs officials have been greased), a PC game will cost in the area of $100, and Wii/XBox/PS3 games go for up to $300. Even the most strait-laced law-abiding citizen is tempted by the numerous pirate shops that will sell you copies of pretty much any game on the shelves for $5.

    "Ah!", you, the enterprising and optimistic indie think, "but my product is downloadable! And I can easily accept foreign currency!" This is where the other shoe drops: Venezuelans (and I daresay most South Americans) don't really give a toss. They won't pay for stuff that can be easily copied. Some do, and will go the extra mile to make sure you're compensated, but most won't bother.

    Hell, some local folk bands, who make most of their money during the holiday season, have just stopped making albums altogether, focusing on live performances instead. The album will just get pirated the second it leaves the factory, so why bother? And although I'm sure proponents on unregulated file sharing would hail this as an example of content producers adapting to a new market, the truth is that there is no market. Physical CDs weren't replaced by digital downloads there, they simply died because hardly anyone could be bothered to pay for it. Everybody wants fresh water, but hell if they'll dig a well.

    Why does this happen? I think, at least in my country's case, that it's due to the lack of a business culture in the population. Most everything we consume is imported. The average Venezuelan has no concept of what goes into producing the media they consume. They just know it's out there and their computer can copy it. The end.

    So long story short: Unless micro-transactions are the main way you monetize your game, I wouldn't spend much time trying to make inroads in South America.
     
  5. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its much the same for the poorer parts of asia. Thailand definitely has a culture of copying stuff, so does malaysia. Most cities seem to have "computer malls" where you can go and buy copied software. To be fair its quite an easy process too.

    So I think you wont break that mindset anytime soon. Plus I doubt many of them would recognize a play on the "starving indie" thing either, given the relative incomes.
     
  6. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    6
    Same for Uruguay and probably every other country in South America :(
     
  7. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    -From what I've heard there are some high economy asian countries (korea, japan, and more and more china) who are very good for microtransaction economy, I've read that it was something cultural (it was from a 'gamasutra analysis', so it could very well be BS). BUT you'd need very well localized products because they don't seem to like foreign games unless it is from a very well established company such as blizzard.
    Most other asian countries don't seem to be good markets. Though Singapour has a XBOX live channel, so that must mean something.

    -As for latin america, well other posters said it very well. I have lived a short time in peru and I know that practically nobody buys entertainment products that are not pirated, including games, music and books.
    That said you could possibly sell digital products there if you sell very cheap (for example <1$ for a game), maybe if you manage to change the price according to country.
     
  8. ManuelMarino

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    4
    Well... changing the price according to country is not exactly fair...

    I suggest just to focus on USA and Europe... that's all.
     
  9. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that it's not fair when I see that europeans pay much more than USAns for the same product (ex: software is sold $300 in usa and €300 in europe). This is not fair.
    But I don't see it being unfair to lower prices for lower income countries such as latin america. Even if a part of the population there has practically the same standard of living than in europe, most of the middle class there (when it exists) is actually in a rather fragile situation .
    The only problem is to make sure thatthese prices are only available to people in the correct countries.
    also another problem could be payment method. I know that people buy a lot of prepaid telephone cards there, maybe there is sthg to do with that.
     
  10. Escapee

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple of nations in Asia (excluding Australia) that worth your marketing efforts are Japan (BFG has a Japanese site), Singapore and maybe Taiwan/South Korea. For the rest of the nations, you will need a very strong multiplayer (ie : Starcraft 2, L4d2, etc) mode for the game to sell just OK.

    In Malaysia, Although pirated games are available, there are still lots of gamers buying legal copies for the reason mentioned above (multiplayer). We have a thriving gaming community here. and a few portals like this that sell legal softwares. Not all of us are pirates:D .
     
  11. speeder

    speeder New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0
    It IS possible to get boatloads of sales from Brazil.


    But you have to do it illegaly.


    What?


    Brazil has rampant piracy, but I defend that the piracy is a symptom of the government behavior.

    First, games in Brazil are censored, Australia style, ALL games (even free) are supposed to be sent to the Ministry of Justice, that will rate the game. They CAN refuse to rate your game (thus being a de facto ban), and you need to pay at every attempt. The amount to pay is not much disclosed, I did my best to find out, only to fail completely to figure, they don't give information about how it is done, and all games that are rated I see are from Eletronic Arts or Synergex (a canadian company that sell here stuff from publishers that are not sold by EA... Activision is sold by EA.. o_O), but from what I heard from anedoctal tales, it is VERY expensive (thus reason why only EA and Synergex pay for it).

    Second, games are taxed in BIZARRE manner, they may reach taxes as high as 273%, a new PS2 here costs 400 USD, a DS Castlevania from around 6 years ago, is still priced 300 USD here...

    And to make things worse, the currency exchange rate is broken (1 BRL was supposed to be 1 USD. But currently you need 1.6 BRL to buy 1 USD, meaning that when you price a game 60 USD, to brazillians it is effectively 102 USD), and the pay generally is low (Brazil has the second worst income disparity in the world, 1% of the population has 40% of all the money, while another 70% has the other 40%, thus obviously the majority of people has little money to buy expensive games).




    So, how do you sell games to Brazillians? It is simple, translate it to portuguese, put in some digital distribution service to US people, and let the sales roll in. You will not know how many sales come exacly from Brazil, because lots of Brazillians create fake US indentities to buy games (reason why I said to put it in a US service).

    Or if you want to sell to retail, then stuff is more shady, you have to sell to Paraguay people (legally), then convince some retailers of illegal goods (warning: this sometimes include weapons, drugs, pirated cigarette, and other stuff like that), to buy it and resell inside Brazil (ilegally).

    I know in person several people that do that, but it is small scale, so it would be useless (they sell more harmless stuff, like games, clothes and french parfums to friends and family).

    The big guy is a chinese dude, that I forgot the name, he got arrested more than once here, but he own several malls that sell stuff ilegally (those malls are more popular than regular malls btw...).


    Now just to show the thing about illegal stuff retail (both pirated and smuggled): http://oglobo.globo.com/fotos/2007/11/16/16_MVG_sp_25demarco.jpg <<< this is 25 of march street in São Paulo, it has several of those malls, and some stores on the street. But several cities that I visited has stuff like that, inside the malls are crowded like the street itself in the photo.


    No wonder the government itself estimates that 50% of the entire country economy is black market (including of services, like hiring someone to make the music for your game, paying them in money, and never signing a contract, to make it untraceable).
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer