The outbreak of COVID-19, which has been declared a global pandemic, is impacting and interrupting a number of businesses and industries. This includes gaming, as development teams move to a work-from-home structure and global tournaments decide to postpone or cancel. 2020 is a massive year for gaming because both Microsoft and Sony are launching next-generation consoles this holiday.
Since these consoles are assembled in China, which is where COVID-19 originated and has seen thousands of cases, many are wondering if these new consoles will be able to launch on schedule. For its part, Microsoft has again stated that the Xbox Series X remains on track.
Microsoft’s recent huge info dump for the Xbox Series X–which included new details on the console’s specs, form factor, controller, and more–also included confirmation that Microsoft is moving forward with its plan to launch the system this holiday.
The blog post mentioned two times that the Xbox Series X is still on schedule to release this holiday. GameSpot followed up with Microsoft to ask if the company anticipated significant supply chain issues for the system, but the company declined to comment.
Similarly, GameSpot approached Sony in February to ask if COVID-19 would have any significant impact on the PS5 and Sony’s plans surrounding launch timing. The company did not respond to GameSpot’s request for comment.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft had concerns about manufacturing in China. The company said the price of the Xbox Series X would depend on how President Trump’s tariffs with China shake out. Those issues have smoothed out, but were quickly replaced by new concerns around COVID-19.
While Microsoft is prepared to say the Xbox Series X remains on schedule for release this holiday, there are a number of lingering questions. Will the console’s exact release date and price be impacted? Will there be supply issues? Will Microsoft continue to go ahead with the rumoured lower-spec next-gen Xbox? Microsoft has time and space to make more announcements in due course, so answers to these questions may become available in time.
Whereas Microsoft has already shown off the Xbox Series X and discussed many of its key features, Sony has been far more tight-lipped about the PS5. Apart from confirming the name of the console and its logo, the company hasn’t shared much beyond confirming it will offer faster loading times and that it will support PlayStation 4 games.
Recently, the research group DFC Intelligence put out a statement that predicted one or both of the next-gen systems, either the PS5 or the Xbox Series X, will be delayed to 2021. Should the systems launch on time, supply could be limited and pricing could be higher due to manufacturing issues and the global economy being what it is, the research group said.
Apple’s iPhones, which are also manufactured in China, are predicted to experience global shortages due to the virus.
Microsoft was expected to make big Xbox Series X announcements during E3 2020, but that show is now canceled. Despite that, Microsoft plans to make announcements during a digital event. Other publishers, including Nintendo, are considering their strategies as well with a focus on digital events.
Going back to Xbox, Microsoft made a long list of big announcements for the Xbox Series X. For everything you need to know, check out GameSpot’s Xbox Series X news roundup.