The impact of COVID-19 is widespread and has thrown practically all of us into a new situation, and that includes the game industry. With a number of delays already occurring because of the virus, such as the delay of Death Stranding on PC and the physical release of The Wonderful 101. This has, understandably, made some people question whether the next generation of consoles will still be released this year or pushed back until 2021. In March, a market research firm predicted they would be. However, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has confirmed that the Xbox Series X launch will not be delayed, but some games might be.
Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Alley, Phil Spencer said:
“Overall, I think we’re in line with where we thought we would be. 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.”
That should not really be a surprise considering the amount of evidence we have already seen regarding game delays as studios continue working remotely to protect staff from the possibility of contracting the COVID-19 virus. As a result this will have slowed down production in some cases. However, Microsoft is going into the next generation on strong footing as more than 10 million people have now signed up to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. That surpasses the last known figures of the PS Now subscriber numbers which sat at one million. However, there is the other side where the Xbox Series X is not expected to have any platform specific titles for the first year We will find out what Microsoft has in store this week though as it will be hosting out a next gen showcase on May 7th looking at third party titles coming to the console.