[by Cerius Shah] The Hindu has an interview with Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) Mohit Anand, Country Manager (India) for their Entertainment and Devices Division (EDD). All Microsoft Hardware products in India are imported, with most of these come under the PC bracket, including mice and keyboards. Anand claims Microsoft Hardware is the leader in India. On the Xbox Live service launched in November 2007, they have partnered with Percept D Mark for exclusive previews and ancillary content as well as UTV which is offering free Bollywood movie clips. Plans are afoot to launch educational content based on the CBSE and ICSE format in Feb 2008 on Live through a tie up with Educomp.
The core target group for the 360 according to Anand is the 10-25 age group and mostly male. Can’t quite figure out what they are trying to achieve by offering educational content besides being a good selling point to parents. Officially MS doesn’t divulge the installed base in India, but globally their stack stands at 17.7 million units, I would be surprised if their base in India is anywhere north of 100,000. However, the only Indian 360 + PS3 + Wii community forum has a three digit (660) member community combined. Microsoft wouldn’t be able to validate a large chunk of the population using Live either since anyone who has modded their 360 is wary of going online. Besides, at $55 for a 12 month subscription (US is $50), it’s not exactly a cheap option to download movies (for which you need to top up your account with MS points) and watch free trailers when there are ‘cheaper’ options available.
Regardless, Microsoft has achieved a lot in closing the retail gap between international and Indian game releases as well as launching Live in India. I reckon the battle for positioning isn’t going to stop anytime soon and if as suspected they launch a DVR model, we could be in for a battle royale with Dish, Tata Sky, Reliance and Microsoft unsheating their claws for the drawing room. Earlier we had reported the 360 price cut for Diwali, which was followed by another price cut around Christmas, albeit transient.