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SOE seeks to open studio in India

Sony Online Entertainment has announced plans to set up a studio in India to develop online games with local content

Sony Online Entertainment has announced plans to set up a studio in India to develop online games with local content.

"We need to have Indian content for our games and we are looking for local partners," said David Christensen, vice president, business development and international operations, at a gaming conference in Mumbai.

The company is talking with local developers and aims to set up the studio early next year.

"We will contribute our technology to the joint venture," Christensen said. The local partner would be expected to provide the creative talent for the games and contribute towards the cost of setting up the studio.

There are currently about 2.8 million online gamers in India, but developers expect the market to explode as broadband penetration grows over the next few years.

SOE recently partnered with Virgin Comics to develop a multiplayer online game based on Ramayan 3329, a comic book written by self-help guru Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur that was inspired by a famous Indian epic about a battle against demons.

"If the game is successful in India, we will take it to Europe and North America," said Christensen. "It is a fresh international story and if it is created into a movie it could be a big global property."

The Ramayan comic was released in the United States last year, and Bangalore-based Virgin Comics is currently in talks on a movie version.

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