Want to buy a PS4 Pro in India? Too bad, because you can’t do so officially with a warranty anymore. This is something Saikat Koley Saiko learned the hard way.
Saiko, a game character artist working in Hyderabad, had saved up to buy a PS4 Pro. Traditionally a PC gamer, he was lured to Sony’s camp due to the exclusive games on offer like Horizon Zero Dawn.
“I was looking for a PS4 Pro and I wanted to buy it officially. It wasn’t available anywhere in the city, not at Croma or Bajaj or anywhere. I was fed up and I had two options - I either import or I buy it from the grey market,” Saiko tells Gadgets 360.
Though far more easily available, the PS4 Slim wasn’t an option for him as he was looking for a “no compromises experience”. This is what the PS4 Pro promises with features such as 4K resolution and a higher frame rates in supported titles. Saiko didn't want to buy an Xbox One either.
“There’s no point to buying the Xbox One as all games are on PC too [thanks to Xbox Play Anywhere],” explains Saiko. Frustrated with waiting, he ended up buying a Singapore PS4 Pro console from eBay, hoping that Sony’s touted reliability sees him through as it does not have a valid warranty for India.
But it’s not just customers like Saiko - multiple retailers and distributors speaking to Gadgets 360 on the condition of anonymity have pointed out that the PS4 Pro has not been available in India even though it has officially launched in India.
"No stocks since February"
“I haven’t got stock since February,” an employee of a large consumer electronics chain. “We get at least a dozen queries every week but we can’t supply a single unit because Sony hasn’t given us any PS4 Pros since launch.”
“Earlier we were told that we’d get the PS4 Pro from August. That shifted to September. Then we were told that because of Diwali we’ll only get it by November 20. On November 17 we were told we’re not getting stocks,” an independent store owner confirms. “I don’t know why Sony India gives us the run around.”
Other have opted for less official means of meeting demand. In Mumbai alone, there’s an influx of around 100 to 150 PS4 Pros through parallel and grey imports on a weekly basis. These are sold offline, or online through third-party sellers on sites like eBay.
“I pick up 15 units a week from Dubai without fail,” a suburban Mumbai retailer tells Gadgets 360. “There’s no point in depending on Sony. We heard from them there will not be any PS4 Pro officially till next year.”
For its part, Sony India is painfully aware of the PS4 Pro’s non-existence at retail after an official launch.
“There shall be supplies for PS4 Pro in the near future, however at present we are uncertain of the exact timeline of the next lot of Pro supplies – we shall update as soon as we have clearer date of availability,” the company told Gadgets 360 via email.
However, Sony has refused to give a reason for the same. One possibility could be global supply issues that Sony admitted to facing in June this year. But this doesn’t seem to be the case, with Black Friday deals galore on the PS4 Pro in regions where it’s available, such as the US and Europe.
An explanation could lie in mandatory certification required with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In the past, Sony India has struggled with this. We’ve seen it with the PS4 wherein Sony emptied its launch stock of 4,500 units completely. If you weren't amongst the lucky few who got a launch unit, you faced a long wait to buy one because the consoles now needed clearance from the BIS before they could be sold, which took nearly five months. This is the same reason why the PS VR and PS4 Pro were delayed in India to begin with. Though the former is still readily available in stores across the country.
Or maybe it boils down to cost, quantity, and scale. The widely accepted install base for the PS4 in India sits in the range of 220,000 to 250,000 units including grey market sales as well as the limited PS4 Pro sold via various channels (official or otherwise) sold till date. While it’s tracking higher than what the PS3 did in the same time frame, it’s still a far cry from Sony’s successes in other regions like the Middle East, where the sales crossed a million PS4s two years ago.
There's also the issue of pricing. The official price of a PS4 Pro in India with warranty is Rs. 38,990, while it retails via the grey market between Rs. 28,000 and Rs. 32,000 depending on the store. Considering the demand outstrips supply for the PS4 Pro at that price, is Sony simply content with letting the grey market cover user needs, waiting to step in if and when demand hits critical mass at a price it deems fit?
Sony is marketing a console you can't buy
Where does this leave you? Previously, a loophole allowed you to pick up a PlayStation console from a PAL territory like the UAE or UK and if something were to go wrong during its warranty period, Sony India would allow you to buy a new console at 50 to 75 percent less than the sticker price. What this means is, you could have bought a PS4 Pro from a PAL region and be covered for the most part. This option is not available any more.
“We do not provide warranty to non-BIS certified products,” Sony India confirms.
Despite all of this, Sony India perplexingly advertises the PS4 Pro as being available officially. At IGX 2017, a Mumbai gaming event where Sony took part, there were several hoardings proclaiming PS4 Pro's 4K FIFA 18 experience.
The first half of 2018 sees a host of games that will be marketed as optimised for the PS4 Pro, such as Far Cry 5 and Monster Hunter World to name a few, aside from Sony’s own stable of exclusives such as God of War, Days Gone, and Detroit Become Human. It’s a given that the aforementioned games will be available officially in India, it’s just that the means to play them at their best on console will be restricted to a few willing to risk buying a console without a warranty.