Microsoft will be officially launching its latest gaming console Xbox One in India this September and more details are expected in April. The console has been unofficially available in India since December last year and it’s priced in the range of Rs 49,000 – Rs 59,000 in the grey market. Some of them even have day one editions, which unfortunately cost almost twice as much.
Several gamers here have already imported their consoles from western markets but Microsoft had said that it will not provide any warranty for those consoles. Thankfully, Xbox One’s have had fewer hardware failures compared to the RROD issue Xbox 360 faced at launch.
In January there were rumours of the console launching here in October 2014, around Diwali. Anshu Mor, head of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business had told MCVIndia earlier that it will try to bring local and international entertainment content to the gaming console in India. This focus on local content has been pointed out as one of the reasons for the delayed launch in India and several Asian countries. Localised content would give Microsoft a leg up against Sony which doesn’t offer any local entertainment channels. Mor had also claimed that some of the Xbox One features such as HDMI pass through, that lets you watch cable TV via Xbox One, will work with most DTH and cable services in India.
Apart from localised content, the other factor that will impact Microsoft’s success here will be the console’s pricing. Sony has already cornered the current generation market by launching their PlayStation 4 here in December at a price of Rs 39.990. It’s not clear if Microsoft can afford to offer lower prices than that offered by Sony considering its console costs $100 more than Sony’s in the US. Sony had priced PS4 at €399 in Europe and it launched here for Rs 39,990. If Microsoft follows a similar pricing policy here, it just might be priced closer to 50k. That said, it is possible that the company will price the console aggressively like it did with Xbox 360 after PS3’s launch in India. If that happens, then there is a chance of Sony dropping the price of console a little bit.
The third current generation console, Nintendo’s Wii U may not get an official launch in India as the company has shown no interest in the market here till now. However, Flipkart has been importing these consoles and selling them in India for the past couple of months.