Xbox Series X Restock Date Unknown As PS5 Dominates India
It’s been nearly two months since India got an Xbox Series X restock. The last time Microsoft’s more powerful new console was available in any meaningful way was in mid-May multiple retailers tell us. Since then we’ve had an E3 that extolled the virtues of Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft boss Satya Nadella stating that the company can have a “leading role in democratising gaming”. The reality in markets like India however, can’t be starker.
You can’t buy an Xbox Series X in the country officially. Be it e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart or even small, local independent stores, it’s tough if not impossible to find.
And it extends to the grey market as well. A cursory check with a few stores that stock such goods confirmed that the Xbox Series X is hard to source, going as high as Rs. 70,000 at some outlets (despite an MRP of Rs. 49,990), citing supply issues. In fact, this seems to be a common refrain across the board even with official sellers.
“We got some Xbox Series S stock in June,” says one Delhi-based retailer. “But nothing else through the month. Series X was less than five units in May.”
Sources in the supply chain tell us that the reason for a lack of Xbox communication or availability is covid-19 related. Microsoft itself seems aware of stock shortages, responding to IGN India’s request for comment with a “no news from our front on this” over email.
Xbox Series X Games India Availability — Or Lack Thereof and Why It Matters
The concerns aren’t limited to consoles either. Even games themselves usually don’t make it to India. Sure, you can buy an Xbox game digitally via the Microsoft Store, but when first-party titles like Flight Simulator and Forza Horizon 5 aren’t up for pre-order on disc.
It makes us wonder how serious the company is about its Indian user base aside from well, just pushing Xbox Game Pass.
Until Microsoft manages to sort out its supply chain, Sony appears to be dominating the headlines and the discourse with the PS5 in India.
After what will go down as one of the worst launches in Indian gaming history, the company rallied itself with multiple restocks in quick succession in the months of May and June. While Sony does not comment on restocks, sources at the company tell IGN India that there are plans for a July restock as well.
Sony’s first-party games while expensive, show up on time too. Although sales for recent exclusives like Returnal and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart are slow, stores tell us, that third-party titles like Resident Evil Village and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War more than make up for it.
Frequent discounts as well on staples like FIFA 21 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for the PS5 have cemented sales on Sony’s platform. Digital downloads may be in ascendance the world over, but Indian buyers are value conscious and go where the deals are.
It just so happens that most of them tend to be on physical copies. Sony has a large footprint at retail and that helps its cause. While Xbox controllers and consoles sell well when available, there’s little in way of games or Xbox Game Pass top-ups to push at retail, making it a one-sided affair. Throw in the fact that India’s biggest games distributor simply isn’t interested in bringing most Xbox games to market, and it makes things worse.
The Xbox Series S Problem
Furthermore, while the Xbox Series S is the most affordable console from either company, it’s also brought in an audience that’s far from familiar with how digital purchasing.
“We’ve had queries for Xbox Game Pass, but they’re mainly from customers that bought an Xbox Series S from us,” says one store owner. “They’re usually parents who are wary about using credit and debit cards online so we help them with that as a favour. Our Xbox Series X buyers are more familiar with online transactions so it’s a non-issue for them.”
Xbox Game Pass at retail has been heavily rumoured to show up as a prepaid option at store shelves both digital and physical. This could alleviate some of Microsoft’s problems though it hasn’t happened just yet. Sources tell IGN India that the company is still going through local regulations and guidelines necessary to launch it. No surprise since Sony had its own long road to launching PS Store prepaid cards at retail.
What Does This Mean For You?
It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft regain lost ground. India was fortunate to get the Xbox Series X and S at the same time as the rest of the world. Both have sold incredibly well in India in the last couple of months, with the Xbox Series S being the best-selling console in India in March and April.
Perhaps we’re in for a wait until Microsoft regains its momentum and hopefully, it won’t be a repeat of the Xbox One’s many excruciating failings in India. Right now though, if you want to buy an Xbox Series X, you may be in for a bit of a wait.
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