Xbox Series X release still on track despite pandemic says Xbox head

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Microsoft continues to push forward on the release of Xbox Series X, its upcoming next-generation console on track for release this holiday. The future entry in Microsoft’s game console lineup promises sizeable advancements over prior devices, with a tease of early gameplay scheduled for May 7, featuring titles like the newly unveiled Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. And while current world events introduce unforeseen hurdles around production, Microsoft still appears confident to deliver Xbox Series X later in 2020.

Executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, states Xbox Series X will still arrive this year, speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Thursday. The Xbox head discussed Microsoft’s Q3 earnings, while also reflecting on current next-generation efforts with Xbox Series X and games targeting the system.

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“[The] teams are doing a really good job on keeping our hardware on track,” Spencer stated. Microsoft instead sees challenges surrounding its internal game development under Xbox Game Studios, attributed to the delay of Minecraft Dungeons and Wasteland 3 a few weeks prior. “I’d say the bigger unknown is probably the game production, just being honest. Game production is a large-scale entertainment activity now, you have hundreds of people coming together, building assets, working through creative.”

But Microsoft appears committed to delivering Xbox Series X in 2020, currently on schedule with expected progress. “On the hardware side, we feel good about our plans. There’s obviously some impact to schedules. Overall, I think we’re in line with where we thought we would be.”

Microsoft isn’t the only firm impacted by COVID-19, with many sourcing manufacturing outside of China, or adapting around challenges related to recovering eastern production lines. But as with any new hardware release, there’s potential for limited availability at launch, especially in the current climate.

We’ll see more of Xbox Series X on May 7 via its digital games showcase, expected to feature a handful of third-party titles running on the new system. That includes the new Viking-themed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, along with titles from other studios developing for Xbox Series X.

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