Xbox Releases Statement On COVID-19's Impact On First-Party Game Development
Xbox boss Matt Booty says each studio is facing "unique challenges and restraints."
Microsoft has released a statement regarding the impact of COVID-19 on its upcoming exclusive Xbox and PC games. In short, no projects have been officially delayed, but Microsoft has acknowledged that its teams are facing "unique challenges and constraints" as they shift to a work-from-home setup.
2020 is a crucial year for Microsoft and the Xbox brand, as the Xbox Series X is lined up to release this holiday with Halo Infinite as a launch title. Microsoft remains committed to launching the Xbox Series X this year--the company doubled down on that earlier in March. But what impact COVID-19 has on in-development games--such as Halo Infinite, Grounded, and Everwild, among others--remains to be seen.
Echoing Xbox boss Phil Spencer's previous statements, Booty said the health and safety of its development teams is Microsoft's "top priority" currently. Additionally, the types of challenges that Microsoft's development teams are facing are also impacting other developers around the world, he said. Just recently, Bethesda delayed the much-anticipated Wastelanders update for Fallout 76 due to the coronavirus.
Regarding specific titles, Booty said his team is supporting studio leaders to "make the right decisions" for their games and teams during this tumultuous time. You can read Booty's full statement below.
Matt Booty Statement On COVID-19 Impact On Xbox Games:
"We know that gaming connects people during times of social distancing, and we are committed to delivering the highest quality Xbox Game Studios games for our global community of players. At the same time, the health and safety of our XGS development teams is our top priority. Each studio is facing unique challenges and constraints depending on its particular location, and many of our external development partners around the world are similarly affected. We are supporting our studio leaders to make the right decisions for their teams and their individual games during this challenging time.”
The statement comes in the wake of Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries acknowledging that the coronavirus situation may get worse before it gets better.
"We're removing all the obstacles in our path and tracking well, but need to be mindful of our current limitations and understand that the coronavirus situation may get worse before it gets better," 343 said in a blog post. "Rest assured that every single one of us is doing everything in our power to continue developing and delivering quality Halo experiences while we adjust to this new way of life."
A spokesperson for Microsoft tells GameSpot that Microsoft has never announced a release date for Halo Infinite, so there is no change to report on for the game's launch timing. It remains on schedule to release in Holiday 2020, the company re-confirmed to GameSpot.