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Xbox Boss On Impact Of COVID-19--"We're Going To Be Fine"

Phil Spencer says games scheduled for 2021 might be delayed, but he's not worried about the long-term impact from the pandemic.


Xbox boss Phil Spencer has again weighed in with his thoughts on how COVID-19 will impact the gaming industry. Speaking to Business Insider, Spencer said he expects the Xbox Series X to launch on schedule this year and most titles in the short term won't be significantly affected. On a longer timeline, however, Spencer said there might be "some impact."

"Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games," Spencer said. "Games that were targeting a year from now or beyond? There'll be some impact, but they'll be able to react."

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Now Playing: First Look Xbox Series X - Full Presentation

Spencer did not name any titles outright that he believes might be impacted. The Xbox Series X's flagship launch title, Halo Infinite, remains on track to release this holiday with the console despite the development team at 343 Industries moving to a work-from-home structure.

One of the issues related to game development under lockdown is that teams cannot conduct motion-capture sessions. Spencer said motion-capture recordings have "basically stopped."

In regards to the Xbox Series X hardware, Spencer said he and his teams are "obviously not traveling to China" to check in on the manufacturing process of the new machines. That being said, Spencer said he feels good about the progress being made on the consoles. In fact, Spencer pointed out that he is currently playing games on his Xbox Series X at home as part of the testing process.

The launch of the Xbox Series X might be different than previous new console releases, however. Spencer admitted that the kind of "pomp and circumstance" around new console launches might be impacted this year. For the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft held global releases parties, but with the global lockdown situation being what it is, those may not happen this year. Microsoft recently stated that it would not hold any physical events until 2021, which would seemingly impact plans for an Xbox Series X launch party.

Overall, Spencer said he feels optimistic about the future of the games business. "I think we're going to be--as an industry--we're going to be fine," he said.

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