Is this a progressive move, or them chickening out?
The Xbox One is launching in India later this year, where it will go head to head with Sony’s PlayStation 4. The Xbox 360 actually managed to carve an extraordinarily successful (by Indian standards) niche for itself in the market, so all eyes are on the Xbox One to see how it will do.
Well, ahead of the launch, looks like Microsoft is already making several interesting moves. Today, they announced that the entire range of their Xbox lineup would be available in India exclusively on Amazon.in beginning September 1, 2014. This will include Xbox One, Xbox 360, Kinect, Xbox Live, Xbox Accessories and all Microsoft-published Xbox game titles. Amazon.in also announced exclusive pre-orders for Xbox One beginning today.
Chakrapani Gollapali, Country General Manager, Consumer Channels Group, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. said, “As a core pillar of our consumer strategy in India, we see tremendous opportunity in delivering our products and services to the ever-expanding natively digital audience. We believe this collaboration with Amazon gives us the platform to build scale at an unprecedented level for the gaming and entertainment category in India. We also see opportunities to nurture and build unique experiences in partnership with local content companies that have come together to give fans in India the best gaming and entertainment experience ever. This is the first time that we will be focusing on retailing our products through an ‘online only’ channel and we look forward to bringing the world’s most-loved gaming portfolio to Indian consumers through India’s largest and fastest growing online store Amazon.in”
“We are very excited to be the partner of choice for Microsoft’s entire Interactive Entertainment Business portfolio in India. We are the fastest growing eCommerce platform in the country today and this partnership is a validation of the faith customers and sellers place on our brand. This partnership gives us the opportunity to forge deeper engagement with gaming enthusiasts across the country and aligns with our vision of offering customers in India the widest selection at low prices, fast and reliable delivery and a trustworthy shopping experience,” said Mr. Samir Kumar, Director, Category Management, Amazon India.
According to Anshu Mor, Director of Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft India, “This is a historic moment for Xbox in India. This unique partnership and the launch of Xbox One will bring a colossal line-up of exclusive blockbusters, the best multi-player experience and amazing entertainment experiences like Game DVR, Twitch, Live TV Pass Thru, Snap on TV, Skype, Voice commands through Kinect and Internet Explorer. We are also committed to bring local movies, music and on-demand TV as part of our entertainment portfolio for the Xbox Live service.
He further added “We will continue to support sales of Xbox 360 portfolio till 30th of August across our existing retail channels, post which the portfolio will become exclusive to Amazon.in. We also believe that Amazon India would offer consumers a great purchase experience and full assurance of getting a genuine console with warranty support in India.”
Personally speaking? Making the Xbox One exclusively available via Amazon in the country seems to come off as a bad move to me. Retail space matters for a lot (including intangible benefits like mindshare), and this move makes it seem a bit like Microsoft is not sure of the Xbox One’s sales potential in the country to go allocate resources and costs towards physical retailer shelf space. On the other hand, India has taken to online shopping surprisingly well, and there is an argument to be made that there is a massive overlap between the console market and the eCommerce market in the country. I don’t know, I guess we’ll see in the coming years how this move paid off.
The Xbox One launches in India on September 23rd, 2014 priced at INR 39,990. The Xbox One with Kinect will be available at INR 45,990. You can pre-order it from Amazon India starting now.