After 8 years at Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), where he as Country Manager for the Entertainment And Devices Division, and was instrumental in bringing the xBox 360 to India, Mohit Anand has put in his papers. His formal notice period will end by April 15th, and he intends to stay in India. GameGuru has a comprehensive exit interview with Anand – here and and here, where he refuses to comment on his next move – including rumours about joining Nintendo, also saying that he won’t be joining PS3 (Sony).
I spoke to Anand, who confirmed that he has resigned, but again refused to comment on his next move. His areas on interest are at the convergence of technology, retail, entertainment, and youth and gaming, but he said it’s not necessary that his next move will involve all of these. He told me that content on xBox live is doing well, but again – no numbers. Content from Hanuman is there and content from Yash Raj Films will go up soon. MS will continue to focus on adding content to the xBox – the free content and the gaming content is doing better than the paid content, of course. MS is also not going to bring those with modded xBoxes into the fold – that’s IP violation.
He added that the most disheartening aspect has been the lack of government support – there is no separate policy on the gaming industry. Which ministry does gaming come under? The duty structure needs to be rationalized, and sops need to be given to game development companies, and situation needs to be created to allow bigger game studios to come to India. The change in duty on ‘packaged software’ doesn’t impact console games, though – they’re classified separately as video games and incur a duty of around 14 percent. The PC games will be impacted by the increase in duty to 12 percent, but there’s no move from MS to increase prices as of now. The other issues that Anand sees include broadband penetration and the lack of distribution infrastructure: there’s no way of launching in hundreds of cities on day one of the launch – but that situation is changing since retail is evolving. And parental perception about gaming is always a worry. He wouldn’t give numbers related to the console market for India since there’s no independent research, but said that these are early days compared to worldwide levels.