Sony isn't 100% sure COVID-19 won't delay PlayStation 5 and new games

Coronavirus could disrupt Sony's PlayStation plans for 2020, including the PS5's launch and upcoming first-party titles.

15 minutes & 57 seconds read time

Coronavirus' global economic disruption could interrupt Sony's PlayStation plans for 2020 (and beyond), including delaying first-party games as well as its next-gen PlayStation 5 console.

Sony isn't 100% sure COVID-19 won't delay PlayStation 5 and new games 7

The PlayStation 5 is still officially due out Holiday 2020, but it's still possible the console could be delayed for a number of reasons. Sony's latest update to shareholders doesn't exactly inspire confidence of a PS5 launch in 2020.

In the press release, Sony says that its four Chinese manufacturing plants have been up and running since February 10, but supply chain issues still remain. It also warns that Sony engineers haven't been able to make overseas travel to overseas plants to instruct the manufacturing processes. The company has also shut down two of its Malaysian plants until April 14, further constricting and disrupting supply. There's no explicit mention of the PS5 here, but it's definitely implied. A Sony spokesperson told Bloomberg that the PS5 shouldn't be delayed.

However, the PlayStation 5 uses specialized and highly-customized tech like a unique SSD, the 7nm SoC designed by AMD, and the robust cooling solution that's been a costly thorn in Sony's side.

Read Also: Understanding the PS5's SSD: A deep dive into next-gen storage tech

The company is careful to say coronavirus won't impact earnings for this fiscal year. That's a bit strange considering the current fiscal year ends on March 31, 2020, just four days after the report was issued. Disruptions in manufacturing could make these parts harder to make in mass quantities.

Sony acknowledges that first-party games development could likewise be affected and force delays from studios in the United States, such as Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II. Game devs are working at home but games development is a highly communicative endeavor and not having direct human-to-human access could inhibit, stall, or at the very least, slow a game's progress.

As the number of coronavirus cases and deaths skyrocket in the United States and around the world, global businesses are forced to adapt to the new stay-at-home work reality. Sony's gaming division is uniquely weathered for this storm and is likely seeing a surge in digital purchases, subscription sales, and overall playtime. But that constant cashflow won't re-open closed facilities and money can't actually code and develop games.

Below are some quotes from the press release issued March 27, 2020:

Sony estimates that there will be no material impact on this business for the current fiscal year.

Although no issues have emerged so far, Sony is carefully monitoring the risk of delays in production schedules for game software titles at both its first-party studios and partner studios, primarily in Europe and the U.S.

Business has been impacted by factors such as restrictions on movement of people across national borders, making it difficult for Sony to send engineers to manufacturing hubs such as China and countries in Southeast Asia for the purpose of helping with new product launches or giving instructions on manufacturing.

Sony has four manufacturing plants located in China (two in Shanghai, one in Wuxi, Jiangsu, and one in Huizhou, Guangdong). All of these plants were shut down in accordance with government mandates, from the beginning of the spring holidays on January 24, 2020, until February 9. From February 10, all four plants have re-started operations in increments. Supply chain issues remain, but operations are returning to the level they were before the spread of the virus.

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The PS5 will release in Holiday 2020, and it may cost $499.

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

PlayStation 5 specs and details:

  • Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
  • 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz
  • Navi 2X GPU with 36 CUs on RDNA 2 at 2.23GHz
  • Ultra-fast 825GB SSD with up to 9GB/sec speeds
  • Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
  • Ray-tracing enabled
  • 8K output support (for gaming)
  • Plays PS4 games, BC is on a title-to-title basis
  • Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
  • New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback

PlayStation 5 Coverage:

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. 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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