Microsoft is not opposed to Xbox One imports, but it’s not quite so easy

Sameer Desai
Microsoft is not opposed to Xbox One imports, but it’s not quite so easy

When the Xbox One was first announced, not only were its games set to be region-locked, but the 24-hour check-in was reported to lock out the console if detected to be connected from outside launch territories. It made importing the console in countries like India unviable, but as with many early Xbox One policies, none of that applies any more.

In fact, after announcing recently that the number of launch countries for the Xbox One has been reduced from 21 to 13, Microsoft is now offering more information for people who are looking to import the console to countries that aren't included in the launch cycle.

The Xbox One console will no longer be region locked, neither will its games, and with the removal of the 24-hour check-in requirement, you can now buy an Xbox One console from one part of the world and the games from another, and they'll work together just fine.

Xbox Live Marketplace

One question remains, however. Microsoft has said that the Xbox Live Marketplace for Xbox One will only be supported in the 13 launch countries, which means that if you log in with your Indian account, you won't have access to the Marketplace.

That would be fine if all you want to do is indulge in some multiplayer, but what Microsoft hasn't clarified is whether Xbox Live will be blocked entirely on the Xbox One in non-launch countries. If this is the case, you won't be able to log in to Xbox Live on Xbox One from your Indian account.

In that case, even if you do manage to create a second Xbox Live account linked to one of the launch countries, your Indian credit card won't work with it. So like Xbox 360 owners in India for a year after its launch, you'll have to rely on Xbox Live prepaid cards purchased online until Microsoft launches the Xbox One here late next year. And even once you do happen to get your Xbox Live US or UK account up and running, IP-tracking will lock out certain video, music and app content based on copyright and licensing restrictions.

Power supply

Then of course, there's the issue of the power supply to contend with. While the PS3 has a universal power supply, meaning that you can plug it into plug points anywhere in the world provided you have the correct cable, the Xbox 360 power supply was designed to be used in countries where it was sold. According to Microsoft's director of marketing Albert Penello, that may continue to be the case for Xbox One. That said, power converters/adapters can easily solve this particular issue.

Warranty

Finally, while Microsoft may be open to users in non-launch territories importing the Xbox One, there's no guarantee that Microsoft India will provide support for consoles purchased from another country. It's unlikely that Microsoft India will offer support for a product that hasn't even launched in India. And if past console launches have taught us anything, it's that warranty and after-sales service is not something you want to do without.

So while it's great to see Microsoft not frowning upon those in countries like India who don't want to wait a year for the Xbox One to launch, early adopters in these countries won't have it as easy as we'd like.

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