On a cold January evening earlier this year, a 17-year-old walked briskly into a store in Ludhiana. It was almost closing time but that didn’t worry him because he knew exactly what he wanted — a Sony PlayStation (PS) with three specific games from the racing genre. It turned out the seller didn’t have any of them in stock but the boy wasn’t willing to wait; he ran across the road to another retailer and went home with his purchase. Atindriya Bose, PlayStation’s country manager, who was witness to this interesting occurrence on one of his sales tours, says, “What amazed me was his high level of product awareness.” After all, PS’s competition is strong — Nintendo has been selling consoles since the 1970s and Microsoft’s Xbox has been around for more than a decade now. While it was a pity that one of his stockists hadn’t updated his inventory on time, Bose’s mind was on pleasant things — a 17-year-old had just spent ₹10,000 on a PS product in a matter of few minutes.
PlayStation has been around in the subcontinent since 2000 but it was only in 2007 that its India focus slammed into place like one of its bestselling games. PS divides the complex demographic, otherwise broad-brushed as ‘young Indians’, into three segments. The first are the 8-15 year olds who depend on their parents and talk endlessly about games. What makes selling t