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As the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to bring industries and events around the world to a grinding halt, it probably won't come as a huge surprise to you that there's now talk of delaying the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The next-gen consoles were expected to go sale around the Christmas period this year.
But if you've been keeping an eye on the news, it's becoming more and more likely that this won't be the case. Coronavirus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic last Wednesday, has already put a stop to numerous sporting, entertainment, and industry events. Coachella, E3 2020, GDC, virtually all the sports... That's to say nothing of the global travel restrictions and numerous countries that have declared a state of emergency and/or gone into lockdown.
In the midst of such a series global crisis, it's obvious that video games are just a small part of the picture. Nevertheless, they're almost bound to be affected just as much as the rest of the economy. Sure enough, a new report from games industry research firm DFC Intelligence (thanks, Forbes) claims that there's a "strong likelihood" that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will not be launching as planned.
The report goes on to suggest that even if the consoles do launch in 2020, it's very possible that there'll be a limited supply - and a higher price tag than was perhaps originally intended.
"Coronavirus is likely to have a major short-term impact on the delivery of both systems," DFC explained in a note. "There is a strong likelihood one or both systems will not make a 2020 launch. If the systems do launch, supply will likely be constrained and initial pricing could be higher than expected."
"Currently the economy is in an unprecedented state of uncertainty. Even if the situation clears up in a few weeks, the ability to manufacture and release a high-end new game system has already been severely impacted."
DFC Intelligence are far from the first group in the know to have made such a prediction about the next-gen consoles. Their statement is similar to one recently made by Niko Partners Senior analyst Daniel Ahmad, who also suggested that we're looking at either limited supply or outright delays.
The good news, at least for Sony and Microsoft's bank accounts, is that DFC also reckons these limited supplies/delays will ultimately lead to greater demand that could increase overall sales. They also argue that the measures already being taken around the world by organisations, governments, and individuals, should help to ensure that this is a "relatively short-term crisis".
"Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will release to record consumer demand", the note finishes. "The challenge Sony and Microsoft face are making sure they release systems that meet expectations. Given the current situation, waiting to make sure they get the initial product right is the most prudent choice."
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