As 2020 draws to a close it’s pretty obvious 2021 will begin with Sony India still clutching to the redundant ‘late 2020’ PS5 release date that’s labelled most marketing material for the console in the country since the middle of the year. While a PS5 India price was revealed in October, the company has said nothing after that in terms of pre-order details or a release date.
And while Sony’s PS5 communication strategy for India is a case study on what not to do, it doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. In our last update The Mako Reactor exclusively reported that Indian retailers were briefed and trained for an impending PS5 launch.
PS5 India quantities are still unknown
At the time of writing this story, there are still game store employees that are yet to be trained. Sources familiar with Sony’s plans claim that PS5 training is mandatory for all stores.
What does it entail? Nothing that most aren’t already aware of such as the PS5’s specifications, launch line up of games, accessories, and the like. However, Sony did not discuss quantities or a release date.
So while this means that you local game store is aware of what the PS5 can do, it isn’t sure of when it is getting stock and how much stock it would be getting.
That said, there are some notable snippets of information that have surfaced.
PS5 India warranty
For one, there won’t be any game bundles at launch as was the case with the PS4 when it hit the shelves in India. Secondly, official PS5 units for India will be backed up by a 12 month warranty. In event something does go wrong with your console in that time period, you are entitled to a replacement unit, not a repair.
Meanwhile accessories and controllers will have zero warranty and after-sales support. While this has been par for the course since the PS2 era, we wonder what the logic is behind not offering any warranty on the DualSense controller given its high price and reports of its adaptive triggers failing. We’ve reached out to Sony for comment and will update this story if we hear from the company.
What’s more is, day one buyers will get a certificate or token of appreciation from Sony to indicate that they were one of the first to purchase the PS5 in India. Details on what this would exactly entail are yet to be revealed.
PS5 game pre-order bonuses
Also unknown is if Indian buyers would get the same PS5 game pre-order bonuses that were present the world over. While Sony did share updated product details that accounted for pre-order bonuses for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and Sackboy A Big Adventure among others, it has in the past, shared false information that cost customers dearly.
Furthermore, in the lead up to this story, our readers had asked if Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition will be available day and date with the console. According to our sources, this will definitely be the case. Expect it to be listed alongside the PS5 when that inevitably happens.
PS5 release date will be announced before listings go live
During the training sessions not only were retailers not given an indication of quantities for the country but a release date wasn’t hinted at either. All the company said was the PS5 India release date would be revealed to the media first.
This first surfaced publicly via a Twitter account that tracks PS5 India release information and we were able to verify these claims. That said, retailers would be allowed to list the PS5 and take pre-orders only after that.
Our sources also claim that Sony has plans for demo stations and PS5 branding at key retail partners as well, part for the course for most console launches. All of these details suggest that the PS5 should hit India soon. However the meaning of that word is lost to Sony.
In fact Sony India has been so dreadful in this regard that Shuhei Yoshida, Head of Independent Developer Initiative at Sony Interactive Entertainment had to apologise to irate Indian gamers from his personal Twitter account in it’s stead.
It’s ridiculous that the executive spearheading Sony’s indie efforts cares more about this market rather than anyone at Sony who is directly involved with getting the PS5 to India like country head Prosenjit Ghosh.
The silence has reached a point where people have made fake tweets attributed to Ghosh to fill the void caused by zero updates while customer support representatives at storefronts like Amazon have been throwing dates at customers in the hopes that one of them may be right. Those familiar with Sony’s plans have claimed that the current statement from Amazon India of pre-orders beginning after January 5 don’t make sense as the company has not given any retailer any indication of a pre-order date.
When we reached out to Sony, we’ve been treated to the same boilerplate response from Sony ad nauseam.
“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has not yet announced a launch date for PS5 in India,” a Sony spokesperson confirmed to us over email. “We will share an update on launch date for India as soon as more information becomes available; meanwhile please continue to monitor the official PlayStation channels.”
PS5 India launch: how not to treat customers old and new
Perhaps the biggest victim of Sony’s lack of real communication are its customers. Long-time console gamers here are used to the company’s indifference since the PS4 era. To the point where some happily bought the PS5 via the grey market.
“There was no point waiting, I imported my PS4 and bought my PS5 in grey like I did with my PS3,” says Delhi-based accountant Rahul Singh, a self-confessed Call of Duty addict. “Sony’s hardware is durable enough so I haven’t had any issues yet. And this time around I paid close to what it will be officially so why should I wait?”
And while the dyed-in-wool enthusiast is more than happy to forsake warranty for an early PS5, a newer generation of gamers are not.
“The PS5 is going to be my first console,” says Bengaluru IT professional Varun Mehrotra who grew up on PC games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive and mobile titles such as Clash of Clans. “The reason to choose PS5 was, as I’ve heard that it should run fine for this generation of gaming, decent amount of seven years. Earlier it might have been an issue financially to spend on gaming every two to three years, but now it’s not, it’s more of time and patience now.”
For the many would be PS5 owners in India the lack of communication between Sony and its retail partners leaves them second-guessing. It just drives the point home that buying a PS5 in India is a more painful process than it should be, making us wonder how it would roll out PS Now when it eventually does so. The service was slated for a 2020 release with testing under way though the coronavirus pandemic lay waste to such plans those familiar with Sony’s plans claim.
Nonetheless, with the PS5, God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West on the way, it will be interesting to see if Sony India does anything to win back the trust of a country that has seemingly grown impatient of the company’s continued run of errors.