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Any gamer who has spent any substantial amount of time in India will know that getting a definite release date for video games in India is a head wringing effort. The effort is even more confounding when it comes to new hardware. That singular problem is the reason behind multiple hate posts by Indian gamers on Reddit, FB, Twitter and multiple forums. Infact, that exact problem is one of the reason why Indiannoob started off in the first place.

BIS is a certification introduced by DeitY in 2013 and applies to imported electronic gadgets.

For a long amount of time, I had thought that these delays in release was because companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo didn’t care enough for the Indian markets. That is true for most part. Microsoft has no plans to release the new Xbox One S in India, until there is a high rise in demand, which looking at the sales number of the Xbox One isn’t encouraging. I don’t think Nintendo knows that there is a country like India. And Sony, well Sony is basically says, atleast you can buy our hardware in India, you should be happy enough.

But there is a more insidious reason why certain hardware, specifically consoles have a hard time releasing in India. A mandatory certification which went live in 2013, requires any electronic gadget that is being imported into India to be certified by Department of Electronics, and Information Technology (DeitY) and granted a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) mark before it can be sold in the country.

all consoles need to be certified
all consoles need to be certified

This certification applies to a wide range of electronics including smart-phones, tablets and you guessed it, video game consoles. Now apart from the simple fact that we Indians understand implicitly that government certification take an insane amount of time in getting through. There are other hurdles to the certification process itself. Here are some of the guidelines that the certification needs to follow:

  1. Chargers have to be certified separately.
  2. Every fresh SKU requires fresh certification.
  3. The exact same product manufactured from a different factory also needs fresh certification.
  4. Certification can take upto 3 months.

All of this adds up, and so industry insiders tell us that the math doesn’t support bringing in products unless there’s a huge demand for them. So imagine Microsoft thinking of bringing the fight to Sony in India, and now they have to shell upto INR 50000 to get their new console certified before it is ready for sale in India. And god forbid if they change their production factory they would have to go through the entire process again.

Now think of Sony. PS4 is the dominant console in India, the people who can afford it already have a console. Does buying a new certification for the PS4 Pro makes sense when they struggling with keeping up stocks for the original PS4, the PS Move Camera and the PS Move controller.

I would dare not try to guess what people at Nintendo think.

So, now you know, the BIS certification from DeitY is one of the prominent reasons that Consoles and other electronic hardware get delayed release dates in India. Now you can stop blaming the grey market, and blame the government like the rest of the country.

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