It’s fascinating seeing how gaming is marketed and sold in other parts of the world, and one country whose gaming scene you never hear much about is Pakistan. But one video has taken a trip through a market in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, showing the different kinds of merchandise, peripherals, duties and import taxes imposed, and surprise video games — including a copy of The Last of Us on PC.
The video comes courtesy of Karl Rock, a YouTuber who specialises in content throughout India, Pakistan and the surroundings. Most of his videos are more travel, advice and lifestyle based, focusing on what it’s like to live in the region as a Hindi-speaking foreigner, and what life is like for his family.
But in the latest video, Rock decided to take a walk through Lahore’s largest gaming market in Pakistan. PC and mobile gaming is more popular in the region, but being a console player, Rock wanted to see what was on offer and the various repair shops available.
A big problem for console gamers in the region is they have to eat a ton of import fees to get consoles, as they have to be imported from Dubai. If you want an Xbox Series X in the region, it’ll cost about $963, while the PS5 is a staggering $1,342. Unsurprisingly, these markets also have a ton of games for older Xbox 360 and PS3 games, and the repair shops will modchip consoles as well. Refurbished and second-hand 360 consoles still sell in the region; given that one store was selling that for $154, it’s not hard to see why there’s still demand.
Naturally, where there are modchips, there’s pirated games. A lot of the games for 360 or the PS3 were available for 75 indian rupees, or just over $1 Australian. Some of the games don’t seem entirely legit, however. But since The Last of Us never came out on PC, and any modern Ubisoft game has super heavy always-online DRM, I’d be pretty wary about putting either of these into my computer.
You can view the video in full below. I always love these walkthroughs of gaming in other cultures, because it gives us perspective that we often never get exposed to as Australians. It’s fascinating to me, for instance, that PlayStation is as reportedly big in India and Pakistan as it was. I would have figured with the PC background and the proliferation of modding that Xbox might be more popular — especially with the lower barrier to entry of services like Xbox Game Pass now. If Sony tried to sell the PS5 at a $200 premium over the Xbox Series X in Australia, for instance, they’d get absolutely destroyed. But in Pakistan, that’s just the price people have to pay.
If you like this sort of stuff, Rock also did a tour through Gaffar Market in India. There’s four video game markets in Delhi, apparently, and as was the case in Pakistan there’s still a ton of older consoles and modchipping services available. One shop that has been around since 1985 illustrates just how stark the difference is between Sony and Xbox. Nintendo doesn’t have a huge presence here either, in case you were wondering: Nintendo doesn’t officially sell to the Indian market, forcing gamers to pay massive import taxes to get Switch hardware into the country.