Xbox 360 Launch In India On 23rd Sept; Microsoft Ties Up With MTV For Promos

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will be available in Indian stores on 23rd September ’06, and its launch will be broadcast live on MTV India. Microsoft has also announced the extension of their strategic tie-up with MTV to India. MTV will develop promotional programming content for the Xbox across 3 channels – MTV, VH1 and Nick; some of the shows will be localized. MTV has also created a funny, localized promo called Porok , but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Xbox, apart from projecting games in general as an obsession among communities.
I spoke to Mohit Anand, Country Manager (India) for Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, and he didn’t say much on the revenue/sale targets for the Xbox. He did mention that the World Cup promo with Adidas had generated 55,000 leads in India. When I asked him about the delayed launch of the Xbox, he said that given that demand for the Xbox is much greater than supply, Microsoft follows a strategy of staggered launches across the globe. He thinks the gray market in India has only seen sales of 300-500 Xbox consoles.
The Xbox has been customized for Indian conditions, and (unfortunately) comes with a regional lock for the DVD player. Also, there are no plans for a strategic tie-up with ISPs in India for Xbox Live since, according to Anand, broadband in India is cheap at Rs.900 a month for 256kbps.
Microsoft is considering tie-ups with major retailers for flagship stores. There will be promotions in Adidas and Samsung stores for lead creation. Games with localized Indian content will eventually be created, but not in vernacular languages.
About the pricing – Microsoft claims to have absorbed “a large amount” of the 37.1 percent import duty levied by the Indian Government, but I have my doubts. With duties, while the Xbox 360 should be about $548 instead of about $515, the Xbox 360 Core should actually be about $411 instead of about $429. So it looks like, to some extent, the Xbox 360 Core system is subsidizing the Xbox 360 in India. Microsoft plans to announce consumer finance options shortly.
The tie-up with Microsoft also marks the launch of “Viacom Brand Solutions” for MTV Networks, Asia.
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