With Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale starting from October 16, the Walmart-owned e-commerce site will reduce the price of the Xbox Series S to Rs. 29,990 for the duration of the sale. This will make the Xbox Series S India price Rs. 5,000 lower than what it was priced at when it first went up for pre-order on September 22 for Rs. 34,990. We were tipped off by our readers of this development and reached out to Microsoft India to find out if Rs. 29,990 would be the new Xbox Series S MRP. Turns out this is far from the case. A spokesperson for Microsoft told The Mako Reactor that the console’s MRP is still Rs. 34,990 and Flipkart’s discount is for the Big Billion Days Sale is its own promotional offer.
A 5k price drop on the Series S before launch? Seriously?! pic.twitter.com/qad4FZrWWN
— Shannon Stanley (@sk3ach) October 5, 2020
As some may recall, the quantity of Xbox One consoles brought in at launch was so high that Amazon India had to discount them by 20 percent a few weeks in. Even right now, a majority of Indian retailers don’t stock the Xbox One S or X. This is because they are unable to match the likes of Amazon or Flipkart in terms of discounts. Even right now, some suggest that Flipkart is selling the Xbox Series S at minor loss or near to its cost price at best. This makes it tougher for smaller retailers to compete and in turn is detrimental to Microsoft’s overall strategy to gain visibility and market share in a territory that’s been dominated by Sony.
”A 15 percent discount puts it close to cost assuming they are buying from Microsoft’s official distributor directly,” says one game store owner on condition of anonymity. “We can’t compete with that with our overheads.”
With the inference of Microsoft’s statement to us being that the company does not exert in price control, we could see Flipkart’s immediate competitors like Reliance Digital and Amazon India discount the Xbox Series S and possibly the Xbox Series X as well.
While this is great for consumers in the short term, it could possibly increase Indian retail’s overall reliance on Sony. At the moment the PS4 makes up 70 to 80 percent of most game stores’ revenue including the likes of Amazon and Flipkart. With Sony doing a somewhat better job of controlling the price of its consoles and games, it results in a more sustainable business for game stores with greater visibility. This combination makes it the de facto choice for consumers too despite Sony’s many transgressions in other areas. The chance of recurring consumer spends on Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold is non-existent for retail despite demand for these outside of Microsoft’s own site, though this may change down the line. And yes, this is before considering the problems inherent to a device that’s dependent solely on your internet connection if you value game ownership and preservation or simply accessing your games given how poorly distributed high speed internet is in India.
Another possibility is that Flipkart is unable to sell the Xbox Series S at its current price of Rs. 34,990 and is stuck with excess inventory. No surprise when you consider that the common consensus amongst Indian gamers is that it’s too expensive for what you get, opting for the pricier Xbox Series X instead. Some smaller stores in the country stated they were getting a couple of Xbox Series X at best and at worse, none at all. Probing further, we were told that for India, the allotment is approximately five to six Xbox Series S for every Xbox Series X.
Hopefully this turn of events doesn’t see Microsoft returning to the same playbook it had with the Xbox One which was disastrous for the company and the overall games industry in India. However with Xbox Series X and S pre-orders in the country taking place the same time as the rest of world coupled with a rousing reception towards the more expensive console, perhaps we’ll see more sweeping changes as next-generation consoles roll out. Right now though, pre-release discounting may just do more harm than good.