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Xbox Series X delay still possible, Phil Spencer says

Xbox Series X is still on track for its planned 2020 release, but Phil Spencer says things could change for a number of reasons.

@DeekeTweak
Published Fri, Apr 3 2020 2:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:44 AM CST

Although Microsoft still feels good about releasing Xbox Series X in 2020, the coronavirus could interrupt shipping, testing, and development plans and force a delay.

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Coronavirus disruption has forced Xbox teams to take on a big challenge: Rigorously test and iterate on a brand new console while working from home. Despite the circumstances, though, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the Xbox Series X is still on track for a 2020 release. Xbox devs are adapting and working hard on the console's intricately layered hardware and software level optimizations to ensure a Holiday 2020 release.

But Spencer warns that could change. There's no guarantees right now and no promises. The console's release this year is conditional on two things: The safety of the Xbox team, and whether or not the system is actually ready to launch. Spencer says he won't jeopardize either priority, but workers come first over the product.

"I'd say things right now aren't easy, I think things are stretched, I can feel it in the teams that they're stretched. But we have nothing right now that says we're not going to make the dates we've been planning," Phil Spencer said in a recent interview with IGN.

"But I'll also say as I said earlier, this is kind of real-time stuff. I'm going to put the safety and security of the team at the top along with a quality product. I don't want to rush a product out if it's not ready.

"So we're feeling good, but also just being eyes wide open."

Things aren't easy for the teams, though. Far from it. Working at home has interrupted the iterative flow of games development and could lead to major first-party games like Halo: Infinite being delayed. There's a lot of uncertainty here.

"There's a level of uncertainty of what's going to happen. I get lots of questions like 'what's happening with this date' and 'what schedule is that on.' The answer I can give is just being honest. We're learning every day what this is like and different teams are in different parts of their schedule," Spencer said.

"The thing I'm going to put front and center is the safety and security of the team. There's no decision that I will make, or frankly anyone at Microsoft would even ask me to make, that would compromise the safety and security of the team for a kind of near-time financial product gain. The teams are the most important thing."

Spencer affirms supply issues may not be a problem. Key Chinese manufacturing facilities are back online after being shut down and are belting out hardware for teams to test.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella previously said that it wasn't necessarily supply that would be an issue, but the demand for the product. Nadella isn't sure how many people will actually buy the enthusiast-grade Xbox after being beleaguered by coronavirus-inflected financial woes.

"I'd say pragmatically the supply chains in China have started to come back, I think we've seen that in the news that China was obviously earlier in dealing with C-19. I think we can see in the factories that we're starting to get things back from them and that's working for us," Spencer said.

"Two big issues we're kind of monitoring right now are building a video game from home, a large distributed team of hundreds of people is not easy. Video games as we know right now are big endeavors, like huge massive asset bases that each one of these games have."

Xbox Series X delay still possible, Phil Spencer says 8 | TweakTown.com

Read Also:Xbox Series X SSD is revolutionary, changes Xbox gaming forever

The Xbox Series X could also be delayed if it's not tested enough. The console is likely in its finalized or near-finalized form and careening towards mass production in the fabrication facilities. These next few months are absolutely critical for various testing, whether it be bug testing, stress testing the system's heat management, and various other examinations. The Xbox Series X has to be scrutinized on all levels before it's ready.

The console is a powerful and complex machine with serious game-changing potential. The system's customized PCIe 4.0 SSD can revolutionize how games are made and played, and the new Zen 2 CPU and beastly 12TFLOP Navi 2X GPU may enable high-end gaming experiences in 1080p 120FPS+, 4K 60FPS, and even 1440p 60FPS+. The real magic comes from the OS and software optimizations that power the hardware--things like the new Velocity Architecture, the DirectStorage API, and Intelligent Delivery are massive.

It's incredibly important that all of these parts get tested as thoroughly as possible.

"On the hardware platform side, I made it public that I had my Series X at home. I'm using it for testing. As much as I have a great time doing that, that kind of time with the console is important and we want to make sure we have the right amount of time with the platform tech we're putting in place to get all the testing done. So we've had to move a lot of that testing to the home," Spencer continued"

Xbox Series X delay still possible, Phil Spencer says 7 | TweakTown.com

Read Also: Xbox Series X natively upgrades current-gen games to native 4K

Even if all of those things line up, the console could still be delayed due to shipping issues.

The Xbox Series X is a physical product that aims to hit store shelves by the critical holiday season to incentivize retail sales. Big chain stores like GameStop will depend on this big surge in buying. But if Microsoft can't ensure a global worldwide launch of the Xbox Series X across all regions, they may delay it, or systematically release it in a staggered fashion. It's the games, though, that could also determine whether or not the system releases in 2020. If the Xbox Series X can't ship with its launch games, then Microsoft could push it back to ensure a global unified console-and-software release.

Key games like The Last of Us II have already been delayed because of shipping issues (Naughty Dog has basically finished the game, but Sony doesn't want to launch it into an uncertain market).

So yes, the Xbox Series X may release in 2020. But don't be surprised if it doesn't. Delay season has just begun, and we may see far more disruption in the video games industry as the coronavirus' economic effects spread through the world.

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:

Xbox Series X delay still possible, Phil Spencer says 20 | TweakTown.com

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • 12.15 TFLOP Navi GPU on RDNA 2 architecture
  • 7nm+ AMD SoC
  • 16GB 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

Xbox Series X coverage:

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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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