Amazon-Only for Indian Xbox

The Xbox One launches in India on Sept. 23.

The Xbox One launches in India on Sept. 23.

AUG. 7, 2014 • The Xbox One is coming to India on Sept. 23 but only through Amazon.in. The exclusive arrangement also extends to all of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox merchandise including the Xbox 360, Kinect, Microsoft published Xbox titles, official Xbox accessories and Xbox Live. Unlike China, which is only getting the Xbox One with Kinect during the same month, India is also receiving the console in a package without the motion sensor priced at ₹39,990 ($488). The Xbox One SKU including the Kinect retails at ₹45,990 ($560). Pricing on the Xbox One is inclusive of all Indian taxes. Both SKUs are bundled with FIFA 15 and include a 14-day trial of Xbox Live. Starting Sept. 1 all Xbox merchandise distributed by Microsoft will be pulled from physical retail in India.

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Impact: India has some of the most fractious retail distribution in the world. There are plenty of huge brick-and-mortar merchants in the country but also thousands of smaller retailers that receive an amount of market protection from government regulation. There are plenty of good reasons why the Xbox 360 did not sell like gangbusters in the country that have nothing to do with retail, but it is obvious that Microsoft believes it can ramp scale and sell more units by having one consistent source for its consoles within India. Xiaomi Corp. is doing something similar with the Indian introduction of its Mi 3 smartphone. As the demand for the Xbox One will be substantially less than for the Mi 3 Amazon should have a smoother time of supplying product to consumers. Yet we wonder whether cutting out a nation’s entire retail infrastructure might be a negative with local consumers. It is one thing to enlist Flipkart.com as Xiaomi has done since the online retailer only operates in India despite having a Singapore-based parent. The Indian division of Amazon.com may not get the same credibility. A lot depends on how many Indians want an Xbox One as low demand will mask possible negative reactions. Regardless, the Xbox One is arriving in India nine months after the PlayStation 4. Sony Computer Entertainment has not broken out Indian PS4 sales but indications are demand was high. Last February, Atindriya Bose, country manager for Sony PlayStation India said that the PS4 launch in 10 cities and 35 stores sold almost as much stock in the first two hours as the total number of PS3s sold in 2013. So while console base is expanding, Bose admitted at the same time that the PS4 was not yet a mass-market item. The Xbox One will likely also sell better than the Xbox 360 in India. How much better is the question?