With the concern that coronavirus will affect the launch plans for next-gen consoles, Xbox Head Phil Spencer says that Xbox Series X is going according to plan.
Ever since the rise of the coronavirus, industry and consumer folk alike are questioning the reality of next-gen consoles, specifically, whether or not they will actually come out in 2020 as planned. Recently we heard from Sony that the release of PlayStation 5 should not be affected and now we know how their competitors at Microsoft are feeling as well.
Xbox Head Phil Spencer went on IGN’s Podcast Unlocked and spoke about how he along with the Xbox team are planning for the launch of the Xbox Series X as the global pandemic continues.
Well, the thing that I will say front and center is the safety and security of the teams and there is no decision that I will make, or frankly anybody at Microsoft would even ask me to make, that would compromise the safety and security of the teams for a near term either financial or product gain. The teams are the most important thing.
I’d say pragmatically the supply chains in China have started to come back. I think we’ve seen that in the news that China was obviously earlier in dealing with C-19 before it spread and I think that we can see in the factories and stuff we’re starting to get reports back from them and that that’s working for us. The two big issues we’re kind of monitoring right now, you know, building a video game from home — a large distributed team of hundreds of people is not easy. Video games as we know right now are big and there’s huge massive asset bases that each one of these games have and how you transition I think all those things are…we’re just kind of living.
On the hardware platform side, I think I made it public when I had my Series X at home and I’m using it for testing. As much as I have a great time doing that, that kind of time with the console is important and we want to make sure that we’ve got the right amount of time for the platform tech that we’re putting in place to get all the testing done so we’ve had to move a lot of that testing in the homes. I’d say things right now aren’t easy. I think things are stretched I can feel it in the teams, they’re stretched. We have nothing right now that says we’re not going to make the dates that we’ve been planning, but I’ll also say it, as I said earlier, this is kind of real-time stuff and I’m gonna put the safety and security of the teams at the top along with the quality product. Like, I don’t want to rush a product out if it’s not ready. So, feeling good but also just being eyes wide open.
With Spencer talking about his reassurance that everything is moving well for the launch of Xbox Series X, he followed up after being asked if there is an alternative plan if the console doesn’t hit their targeted release date including limiting the release to specific regions.
You know we haven’t really started on any kind of Plan Bs you asked about so I’m hesitant to do kind of what-if on this. I will say that having lived through the Xbox One launch, I know that significant delays in region launches hurt us. It hurts us with the sentiment of the fans. Every time I go to Japan I’m reminded that we were, what was it, nine months late in launching there with Xbox One. And the internet, I mean, everybody knows where everything is launched so it’s not like, you know, thirty years ago when it was kind of it’s just not here yet and you don’t get the roar of people getting excited from other regions. So, you know, we haven’t started on that Plan B, but I’d be hesitant to do something like that and fundamentally some of the issues that we have to work through are more software related than hardware and when you’re done with software it kind of scales globally so I’m not predicting that. But you know, I think as I said we’re just managing day-to-day kind of watching how things are going and watching our productivity.
Speaking for myself, this is a big sigh of relief. Up to this point, I was worried that next-gen consoles weren’t going to release this year and a small part of me still thinks that to be a fair possibility. We’ve also learned recently that the Xbox Series X is the more powerful console compared to the PlayStation 5. Everything depends on how things progress with coronavirus, but if it all works out we can expect Xbox Series X to release during Holiday of this year. So please if you can, stay indoors and play video games.