Western Digital bets big on India’s gaming segment

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“Over the past year, India has become one of the top five markets for gaming across devices. While smartphones are the popular choice, PC and console-based gaming are also gaining traction. The new normal has further accentuated the adoption of PCs and multiplayer gaming for an evolved experience. Time spent on gaming has also increased exponentially.”

In an interaction with ET, Jaganathan Chelliah, Director Marketing, India, Western Digital talks about changing consumer behaviour and their storage needs and the company’s focus on the gaming segment.

(Edited excerpts)

How has COVID-19 changed consumer behaviour from the perspective of content creation and consumption?

With Covid-19, the world is witnessing significant limitations to physical interactions and at the same time, a humongous increase in digital interaction, which is the driving need for content creation. As per reports, we interact with more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, including images, high definition videos, apps, etc on an average every day. In this new normal, we are witnessing a surge in user-generated content that engages the audience. For instance, the current environment has ignited a creative spark among all social media users, who create an enormous amount of content by taking up challenges, reviving old hobbies and much more. The content formats have evolved as well, from texts and graphics to voice and video. Also, we see plenty of video-led interactions for work-from-home and study-from-home environments. Another critical factor is OTT-led entertainment content that is driving content consumption. These trends fuel the growth of data in the Indian market and, therefore, increase storage requirements.

What are some of the segments that you see a spike in data creations?

The world is witnessing a voracious appetite for content. COVID-19 has unlocked many data streams, creating massive data pools. I have just mentioned the increase in content creation on the consumer side. We see a similar trend in the enterprise segment. Smart Video and rapid adoption of technology in Edutech and Fintech are some of the prominent areas. For example, the importance of smart video solutions has increased in the post lockdown scenario. To put it simply, we are witnessing the integration of a global trend in India’s smart video space.

Data management is one of the biggest challenges for content creators today. Can you suggest a simple solution to manage this?

In India, users mostly opt for a 32GB or a 64GB variant and ensure they don’t run out of space. We even have a range of microSD cards and dual drives that work as your phone pen drives with simple plug and play options. Western Digital also offers a range of external SSDs and HDDs that cater to various users depending on their use. Additionally, we offer integrated software within our devices for effective data access and management.

Do you have products specially designed for people who create a lot of content, mostly on the go?

For an on-the-go content creator, the ability to transfer and secure their content quickly is of paramount importance. To achieve this, they need a storage device that is meant to endure even in harsh working conditions. To cater to this requirement, we have specially curated a line of SanDisk Extreme Pro products, which include a range of microSD cards, SD cards and portable SSDs. Our SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro devices are created with a high-speed interface that helps transfer data while on-the-go and sports a rugged design. Unlike most of the SSDs in the market, our SanDisk Extreme and Extreme PRO SSDs come with an IP55 rating, which means it is dust and water-resistant and also shock, vibration and temperature resistant ensuring it stands the test of time.

How important is the gaming segment for Western Digital?

Research highlights that Indians have embraced gaming as a form of social interaction and entertainment in these distressing times. Over the past year, India has become one of the top five markets for gaming across devices. While smartphones are the popular choice, PC and console-based gaming are also gaining traction. The new normal has further accentuated the adoption of PCs and multiplayer gaming for an evolved experience. Time spent on gaming has also increased exponentially. Our survey indicates that the key bottleneck in loading and playing large titles is the storage and not just the processor or the graphics card. As 51% of the gamers have cited ‘slow loading time’ as the biggest pain-point, it becomes essential to have the right storage solution for uninterrupted gameplay. In other words, it underlines our importance in the industry.

We have an unequivocal focus on the gaming industry, and we continue to innovate and introduce storage solutions which have been built from the ground up, catering specifically to gamers.

What kind of innovations are you bringing for the Indian gamers?

Irrespective of the type of gamer, the need for a great experience is imperative. Game developers are creating immersive titles that demand high performance and the best tools. As per our survey, 59% of the gamers highlighted quick loading time as the most important factor for good gameplay in India. This promotes the need for having cutting-edge infrastructure that boosts gaming performance.

Western Digital recognized these trends and introduced a series of products under our WD_BLACK portfolio- from internal SSDs to portable SSDs and HDDs.

Are the gamers willing to spend on storage solutions? Why?

As our study highlights, the gating factor for a good game experience is slow storage (57%). This is because 3 out of every 5 gamers in India are still using HDDs as their primary storage solution. As games continue to be developed with high-resolution graphics and become even more mainstream , the need for large storage space based on the latest technology becomes imperative. Our WD BLACK external storage portfolio has been designed to precisely address this requirement. For example, our WD BLACK P50 NVMe SSD offers read speeds of up to 2000MB/s and up to 2TB of storage. Therefore, gamers, especially serious ones, don’t shy away from spending a little extra to ensure a great experience. This also explains the growth in SSD market share in the country.

Is there more in store for the gaming segment from Western Digital?

Keeping up with the latest trends, we continue to introduce customized and purpose-built solutions based on the latest technology. Additionally, we will also be introducing three new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War-themed SSDs in early January 2021. These limited editions are designed for Call of Duty (COD) fans, and, as a bonus, come with a free voucher to redeem COD points.

You are introducing many high-speed SSDs, while you also have a strong portfolio of hard drives. Why should people buy hard drives?

Over time, we have witnessed a transition from HDDs to SSDs, which is only natural. With any tech transition, there is a quest for higher performance and a better experience. Taking the example of internal SSDs, today, most of the laptops, which are Rs 40,000 and above, have transitioned to SSDs. Consumers are looking for higher productivity from their PCs and the most critical device that can give a significant performance boost is an internal SSD. Moreover, with gaming becoming a mainstream application, gaming PCs based on SSDs provide the right experience.

Consumers who want faster performance will move to SSDs, and whoever is looking for greater value for money and a cost-effective storage solution will opt for high-capacity HDDs. Therefore, we believe both of these will coexist.

 

Source: Economic Times

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