Phil Spencer says COVID-19 could delay Xbox Series X launch titles

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Microsoft gaming VP Phil Spencer dropped by CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” with a bit of good and bad news yesterday. The good news is that the Xbox Series X appears to be on track for its late 2020 release, despite COVID-19’s impact on the global supply chain.

The bad news is that some planned launch titles may not join the platform’s launch after all. Spencer didn’t confirm any specific delays, but explained to CNBC viewers that game production is “the bigger unknown” in how COVID-19 might impact the Xbox Series X’s launch.

“Game production is a large scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative,” Spencer explained. He said that Microsoft is comitted to developers’ safety and security, and it won’t just “push when things aren’t ready.”

Spencer’s tone appeared to be optimistic, but it’s the first public acknowledgment we’ve heard from Sony or Microsoft that a once-in-a-century global pandemic could impact their planned product launches. 

Developers everywhere are still trying to adapt to COVID-19’s impact on their process. Though many say the remote work isn’t the problem, the tiny changes in the game development process appear to be impacting some developers already.