Both Microsoft and Sony have on several occasions explained that they do not expect any delays in their upcoming new consoles because of the coronavirus. When IGN's Ryan McCaffrey recently did an interview with the Xbox boss Phil Spencer in Podcast Unlocked, he talked about this topic of delay and it seems as though games could be getting delayed (which we have already seen with Minecraft Dungeons and Wasteland 3 just recently). The console, however, will launch as planned. Here's Spencers view on the whole situation:
"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."
When asked if the worst-case scenario would occur and they will have to postpone Xbox Series X despite all this, Spencer revealed that there is no plan B:
"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."
It turns out not even a delayed Halo Infinite would make them change this, and Spencer clarified:
"I don't think we would hold back the launch of the overall platform for any individual game."
Comforting words. The next console generation really seems hellbent on kicking off this year and no virus is going to ruin the fun this time.
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