The coronavirus pandemic has led to a slew of delays across all of popular culture. As a result, many gamers have questioned whether or not the possibility remains that Microsoft and Sony will be able to release the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 this year, as planned. While Sony has been particularly quiet regarding the latter console, Phil Spencer seems optimistic on the former. In an interview with IGN Unlocked, the Xbox boss indicated that things are still progressing as planned, while still leaving open the possibility that the system could be delayed, depending on a number of different worldwide factors.
"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," Spencer said to IGN. "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."
While many gaming companies have implemented work-from-home strategies during the pandemic, Spencer raises a good question regarding how game development will proceed. Major releases require a large number of employees, so coordinating these development teams remotely might prove difficult. It seems that Microsoft understands that these things could prove to be potential hurdles, and are keeping fans aware that a delay could come, as a result.
Of course, Spencer does raise a good point about the hardware aspect, as well. While production could proceed as planned, it doesn't mean anything if Microsoft isn't able to properly test the completed units, and doing so remotely could also prove difficult. The last thing the company will want to do is rush a product out before it's ready. That could cost Microsoft far more, in the long run. Regardless of what happens, Xbox fans will be able to play the Xbox Series X at some point. Right now, fans will just have to be patient, and see what happens.
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