Ever since the novel Coronavirus began disrupting global supply chains, analysts and industry personnel have expressed concerns that console manufacturers might not be able to meet production deadlines in time for their planned holiday 2020 releases. Both Sony and Microsoft have reiterated that their next-gen platforms are on track to launch this year, but reports suggest that at least one of them – the PlayStation 5 – will be in limited supply and that Sony has acknowledged that the economic impact of the pandemic will affect sales.
Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Alley, Microsoft boss Phil Spencer revealed that the Xbox Series X is “in line with where we thought we would be” and will be available in stores later this year, but added that it’s video game delays that are the “bigger unknown” in the equation.
Spencer is understandably talking about Xbox Series X titles but his comments are applicable to the industry as a whole. We’ve already seen a number of video game delays due to COVID-19, and there’s a possibility that the ongoing disruptions will have an impact on releases planned for later this year.
“I’d say the bigger unknown is probably the game production, just being honest,” said Spencer. “Game production is a large-scale entertainment activity now; you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.” However, Spencer remains optimistic and said that companies are learning to cope with the situation every day.
“I still feel good about it, but I also need to make sure that the security and safety of the teams is the more important thing and not unduly push when things just aren’t ready,” he concluded.
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