For the first time, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has commented in detail on the impact of the COVID 19 crisis on the planned launch of the Xbox Series X later this year and beyond. Speaking to IGN, Spencer said he wanted people to know that the safety of his teams was the most important thing for him in this time of crisis.
“What I’m going to focus on is team security,” said Spencer. “There is no decision I would make, or frankly, someone at Microsoft would ask me that would jeopardize the security of the teams for a short-term financial or product gain. The teams are the most important.”
Pragmatically speaking, Spencer said he observed that the supply chains in China “have returned,”
At the moment, the Xbox Series X remains on track to start this holiday season on schedule, but Spencer has repeatedly stressed that this is a fluid situation and nothing is currently set in stone.
Spencer also said in the interview that the game development teams – not always easily – come to terms with it when they switch to a work-from-home setup. “Building a video game from home – a large, distributed team of hundreds of people – is not easy. Video games are large and there is an enormous wealth base that each of these games has,” said Spencer.
Some of the Xbox Game Studios titles that were already delayed due to COVID-19 were Wasteland 3 and Minecraft Dungeons. Many wonder if Halo Infinite, a launch title for Xbox Series X, may also be delayed, but Spencer said that nothing has been decided yet. Halo Infinite is currently still on the right track to start this holiday with the next-gen console.
“Things are not easy at the moment. Things are stretched. I can feel it in the teams – they are stretched,” said Spencer. “We have nothing at the moment to say that we will not meet the scheduled dates, but I will also say that this is real-time material. I will put our team’s security on.” the top, along with a quality product. I don’t want to throw out a product when it’s not finished. “
Overall, Spencer said he feels “good” about where Xbox is today to prepare to launch Xbox Series X on time on this vacation. “Feeling good, but keeping your eyes wide open,” he said.
Spencer confirmed that Microsoft currently has no “Plan B” for what could happen if the COVID-19 crisis continues for an extended period. That being said, Spencer said he didn’t want to start the Xbox Series X in a staggered manner, as was the case with the Xbox One. For example, in Japan, Xbox One was launched nine months after the system arrived in other parts of the world. Spencer said he wanted the Xbox Series X to be launched globally at the same time.
This leads to an interesting scenario with Halo Infinite. Spencer said Microsoft “will not be launching the platform for a single game.” Based on this comment, it sounds like Microsoft is delivering the Xbox Series X this holiday, even if Halo Infinite – or another marquee first-party game – is delayed. No matter what, Spencer said Microsoft plans to be “very transparent” with people about their plans.
Delaying Halo Infinite would be a huge loss for the Xbox Series X, since Microsoft hasn’t launched a new Xbox console with Halo as the launch title since the original Xbox in 2011. Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries said the COVID-19 crisis “can get worse before it gets better”.
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