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Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020

If not quelled, the coronavirus could impact production of next-gen PS5, Xbox SX consoles and lead to a delay

Derek Strickland | Feb 6, 2020 at 02:39 pm CST (30 mins, 41 secs reading time)

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X could be delayed as key hardware supply chain facilities are impacted by China's coronavirus health risk.

Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020 3 | TweakTown.com

Big chip-makers like Foxconn are closing shop due to the coronavirus outbreak, interrupting tech hardware production in games consoles, iPhones, DRAM, and more. Today Nintendo confirmed the temporary closures at Foxconn will impact Switch production and stall shipments to Japan. This could only be the beginning of the disruption; Sony and Microsoft also rely on Foxconn's fab facilities for chips in their respective PlayStation and Xbox systems.

If the situation doesn't improve, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X next-gen systems could be summarily impacted. This could eventually lead to a delay past Holiday 2020, which would tremendously shake-up the games industry.

According to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, over 96% of console hardware is made and assembled in China, including the SoCs that power each system.

Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020 1 | TweakTown.com

The following quote gives an idea of just how badly the coronavirus could affect next-gen timing (and pricing). Everything the companies spend on production, from the supply chain, manufacturing, and personnel costs, are all meticulously micro-managed and cataloged. The coronavirus outbreak is an unknown factor that could spill the precariously-balanced house of cards.

"In 2018, over 96% of video game consoles imported into the United States were made in China," the Big Three wrote in a joint warning letter to the U.S. government concerning the then-relevant Chinese trade tariffs.

"The video game console supply chain has developed in China over many years of investment by our companies and our partners. It would cause significant supply chain disruption to shift sourcing entirely to the United States or a third country, and it would increase costs-even beyond the cost of the proposed tariffs-on products that are already manufactured under tight margin conditions.

"Each video game console comprises dozens of complex components sourced from multiple countries. A change in even a single supplier must be vetted carefully to mitigate risks of product quality, unreliability and consumer safety issues."

This is something I talked about all along and haven't written about because the conclusion is more logical, but reports are breaking out about possible delays, so the time is right.

Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020 7 | TweakTown.com

Luckily neither the PS5 nor Xbox SX are currently in mass hardware production--they're in pre-production prototype phases--but both companies are gearing up and starting to count costs and make plans.

Sony, in particular, has been extremely reticent on revealing key PlayStation 5 info. A new PS5 website was launched that asserts Sony "isn't quite ready to reveal details" just yet.

Pricing is one of these details. Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said that PlayStation 5 pricing is difficult to determine for a number of reasons including total production costs, hinting the company is watching the outbreak like a hawk. Visibility on these costs is foggy for many reasons--marketing, manufacturing, shipping, R&D, component costs, assembly, and of course the cost of the competing Xbox Series X--but the coronavirus likely plays a part in this uncertainty.

The virus is already impacting Sony hardware: In the earnings call, Sony confirmed the coronavirus would affect camera sensor production.

There is one silver lining.

The specter of the U.S.-China trade tariffs could've inadvertently prepared the Big Three for this disruption. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are said to have moved a portion of their console hardware production out of China to avoid the previous tariffs. Whether or not this actually happened--or to what extent--remains to be seen.

Right now the coronavirus is spreading across the world. There are now 28,000 confirmed cases across 28 countries all across the globe, including key parts of Asia, the United States, Europe, and even Australia. The outbreak is leading to delays of key gaming events, closures of facilities and stores of major tech titans like Apple, and major governments are issuing quarantines when cases are confirmed.

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are due out by Holiday 2020. Whether or not they actually will release then remains to be seen.

Check below for more info on everything we know about the PlayStation 5 so far:

Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020 5 | TweakTown.com

PlayStation 5 specs and details:

  • Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
  • 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.2GHz
  • Navi GPU at 2.0GHz with 36 Compute Units
  • Navi, Zen SoC uses new AMD RDNA 2.0 architecture
  • Ultra-fast SSD
  • Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
  • Ray-tracing enabled
  • 8K output support (for gaming)
  • Plays all PS4 games
  • Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
  • New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback

PlayStation 5 Coverage:

Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we've heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Coronavirus may delay PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X launch past 2020 11 | TweakTown.com

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • Navi GPU on RDNA architecture
  • Highly customized 7nm SoC from AMD
  • GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X's 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Lockhart (Unconfirmed lower-end Xbox Series hardware)

  • 1440p 60FPS
  • No disc drive
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ scaled-down 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHZ and Navi GPU
  • Lower GDDR6 memory pool (Possibly 12GB)
  • ~6-8 TFLOPs of power?
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X/Project Scarlett

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz and Navi GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 2x GPU power as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP

Xbox Series X coverage:

Last updated: Feb 7, 2020 at 06:11 am CST

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Derek Strickland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Derek Strickland

Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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