We are edging ever closer to the launch of the next generation of games consoles from Microsoft and Sony, but while the Xbox Series X is set to launch on time, the games may not.
As CNBC reports, earlier this week Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, appeared on CNBC’s news tech show Squawk Alley to talk about everything Xbox. He was inevitably asked about the Xbox Series X and whether the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on Microsoft’s hardware launch plans. Apparently, it hasn’t, with Spencer commenting, “Overall, I think we’re in line with where we thought we would be.”
His view is a little different on the software side, though. While the Xbox Series X console may launch on time in the last quarter of this year, all the expected games may not, “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.”
We don’t know which games Microsoft has lined up for the Series X launch, or which titles will follow in the post-launch period. That should become clearer on May 7 when Microsoft has promised to show off next-gen gameplay for the first time. However, Spencer’s comments relating to games production most likely relate to internal teams.
Back in June 2018, Microsoft acquired four games studios: Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, Playground Games, and Undead Labs. Together they account for well-known, and well-received tiles Heavenly Sword, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the Forza series, two State of Decay games, and We Happy Few. All four studios will be working to support Xbox Series X with new titles, and it’s these games that Spencer could be referring to as not hitting their (currently unknown) launch dates due to social distancing impacting productivity.
It’s not just internal teams developing Series X games, though. Ubisoft, for example, has five games planned, so chances are, the Series X launch will be accompanied by a decent range of new titles. Even then, backwards compatibility will ensure a large range of existing Xbox 360 and Xbox One games play on the new hardware.