Friday, June 11, 2010

On doing business in Latin America

There's a really interesting Q & A interview up at GameSetWatch

In it, Frederico Beyer, director of Mexican publisher Slang, spoke about some of the unique challenges facing the games industry in dealing with the Latin American markets.

It's an interesting potential area of exports for publishers and developers looking to reach into relatively untapped markets. If we just look at Brazil, for instance, it is one of the globe's largest economies, driven by a strong resources sector and recent economic reforms.

It's attempting to play a bigger role on the world stage, too, recently attempting to broker a deal in collaboration with Turkey to help address the Iran nuclear standoff.

But when it comes to videogames, there seems to be less done. The games industry faces a number of challenges in Brazil, well covered by Gamasutra. There are concerns with piracy, expensive games for consumers (a six-month game on a retail shop will cost a Brazilian the equivalent of $140 US), distribution and financing. In short, it's a frontier.

I recently ran a report for ARN, looking at enterprise software vendors and their overseas expansion strategies. Entering into Latin America is on the agenda, but it's a difficult market, requiring the kinds of business partnerships and investments that would be difficult given the disorganised distribution structure that the Gamasutra piece alludes to.

Despite these challenges, there are development houses in Brazil, and the mobile development industry is performing well (likely because it bypasses some of those distribution and pricing issues). It's undoubtedly a geography that holds a wealth of potential - it'll be interesting to see which companies crack the formulae for success in Brazil and its neighbours.

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