Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has stated that while the Xbox Series X is still intended to hit its launch window of Holiday 2020, the development and release of Xbox Series X titles may be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” Spencer explained that while the pandemic won’t affect the launch of the upcoming next-gen console, the games scheduled for the coming months may well see delays.
“Overall, I think we’re in line with where we thought we would be,” said Spencer. “I’d say the bigger unknown is probably the game production. Game production is a large scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.”
While Spencer said he was confident about the current state of game development, he went on to say that the security and safety of the teams were his top priority, and that Microsoft won’t “push when things just aren’t ready.”
This isn’t the first sign of the ongoing pandemic’s affect on game development and release schedules. A number of games have been delayed during the crisis, most notably Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II being initially delayed “indefinitely” from its previous release date of May 29th, before being rescheduled for June 19th.
In our March issue, we spoke to Ampere Analytic’s Piers Harding-Rolls about the potential impact of the coronavirus (which was then in its early stages in the UK, with the interview taking place pre-lockdown) on the production of next generation of consoles.
“The chance of supply chain disruption due to the coronavirus is growing weekly” stated Harding-Rolls. “To assemble optimum inventory for a November launch, I expect both companies to start ramping up production in Q2, so if factories are not back to full capacity by that point there is likely to be some constraint versus optimum shipments in preparation for a launch.
“Aside from the actual assembly of the consoles, it is hard to predict at this stage if the supply chain for components that go into these consoles, several of which will be custom, will or will not be affected. So, although I’m bullish about the potential for next-gen consoles, external events mean that predicting actual sales performance is a moving target at this point.”