The head of Microsoft has said that there shouldn’t be any problem making the next gen Xbox, the issue is whether people will buy it.
As soon as the coronavirus outbreak started there were immediate questions as to whether it would impact the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, especially given the outbreak started in China, where 95% of all video games hardware is made.
Microsoft and Sony have already insisted there’s no problem, and now that China seems to be over the peak the chances of a delay seem to have decreased – but apparently that’s not what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is worried about.
‘The good thing is the supply chains are all coming back’, Nadella told CNBC. ‘So right now that is not the real issue. I think the bigger issue is what happens in the United States, in Europe, in other developed markets around the demand side of this going forwards.’
Although Nadella didn’t spell out exactly what this meant the implication was that after spending months in self-isolation, potentially on reduced pay, few families were going to be all that excited at the prospect of paying £400+ to stay at home with a new console.
Of course, the same logic follows for Sony and the PlayStation 5, who may now find themselves caught in a game of chicken with Microsoft, where both know the safest option is to delay but don’t want to give a first mover advantage to the other.
‘The question now will be, more getting the products done and then launched’, added Nadella. ‘We’re going to focus on quality, as well as the situation in terms of the demand and, more importantly, safety for the people.’
Nadella also mentioned how Microsoft’s Azure data centres seem to have held up well so far, despite the increased usage, with Microsoft, unlike Sony, not yet needing to throttle back the speed of Xbox Live – even though according to Nadella current usage is equivalent to November, the busiest time of year for video games.
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