Affordability: Key to the “Next Billion”

June 25, 2009sparxoo_admin

affordability is a strategy that will open gaming into new markets

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

For most nations, the barrier to gaming is price. With each major gaming console well over the $200 mark, and games ranging from $20 to $80, game-play has been popularized of developed countries. But just as mobile technology has spread to emerging market countries, gaming will follow the same path.

“The next billion” is the target audience for the console developer, Zeebo. India, China and Brazil are a few emerging markets Zeebo aims to capture. With the digital download only, $199 console, Zeebo seeks to create accessibility through the digital marketplace and competitive pricing. An Xbox 360 will cost you $299.99 and approximately $50.00 a game on Amazon and a Nintendo Wii is $249.99 with game prices ranging from $20-90.

Additionally, Zeebo capitalizes on the boom in cell phones within emerging markets by using the mobile web to download Zeebo games. Piracy and price are both barriers that have scarred many developers away from emerging markets, but Zeebo overcomes those challenges through digital downloads via mobile phone and a competitive pricing. Though there has been much criticism of the console, Zeebo offers accessibility for those who otherwise would have none.

The next step for gaming might not be a console at all. Let’s face it, hardware is expensive. OnLive, a cloud gaming platform, uses bandwidth to deliver great content and eliminates the constraints on discs and cartridges. After you’ve purchased the MicroConsole, you can access an ever-evolving online store for the latest games—eliminating the long lines in stores or the paper/plastic element of gaming. Cloud computing cuts corners on game production and delivery—reducing gaming costs.

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