Next-gen Xbox console launch still 'on track' for this holiday season despite supply chain hiccups, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says
- In late 2019,
Microsoftannounced that its next-generation Xboxconsole would arrive in time for holiday season 2020.
- In the months since, Microsoft's supply chain and workforce have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has moved its employees out of its offices and delayed some manufacturing.
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reaffirmed to Time in an interview published Sunday that the
Xbox Series Xremains "on track" for a holiday launch.
This holiday season, Sony's PlayStation group and Microsoft's Xbox group are expected to go head-to-head once again with so-called "next-generation" game consoles.
Both Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X are scheduled to arrive this holiday season, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has impacted global supply and manufacturing lines.
With just a few months to go until both consoles are expected to launch, will they still make it by this holiday season?
"We are on track," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Time in a new interview published Sunday as part of its "The Leadership Brief" newsletter.
Nadella's statement echoes those made earlier this year by Xbox leader Phil Spencer, who told Business Insider in May that the Xbox Series X launch was still planned for this holiday season. Sony's PlayStation lead, Jim Ryan, similarly reconfirmed a holiday launch window for the PlayStation 5 in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
That doesn't mean everything is going as planned, of course. Game development has been impacted in particular, with everything from music production to motion capture having to pause while millions self-isolate amid the pandemic.
Many of the games in production have yet to be revealed, but big-budget games tend to take years to make, with hundreds or thousands of people working in offices around the world — something that's become nearly impossible during a global pandemic. Studios outright can't remotely do the motion capture ("mocap") or audio work needed to put the finishing touches on a game.
"There are certain things that do need people to come into studios to do that might have an impact in our first-party and third-party games," Nadella said.
"Mocap is just something that's basically stopped," Spencer told Business Insider last month. "We're not going into mocap studios. If you're waiting for a lot of either large audio work — when it's with symphonies and other things — or mocap, you're held up right now and you're making progress in areas that you are."
In that respect, some games that were planned for this holiday season may not make it. More likely, Spencer said, is that some games currently in production for 2021 might feel an impact.
"Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games," Spencer said. "Games that were targeting a year from now or beyond? There'll be some impact, but they'll be able to react."
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