The Xbox Series X is still on track to release in late 2020 and it won't be delayed any game – not even for its planned launch title, Halo Infinite.
That's according to Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, who explained in an interview with IGN that, if the console itself was ready, its release would not be delayed for a particular game.
"I do think that if everything was there, for the software, the services, and the hardware, I don't think I would hold it for any individual game," Spencer said. "Obviously the one you think about is Halo, it's iconic with the launch."
- Best Xbox One games: the most essential Xbox One releases
- Xbox Series X vs PS5: what we know so far
- Xbox Series X games: all the games rumored and confirmed for the next Xbox
- Xbox Series X price and pre-order: how much will it be and when can you pay?
"Bonnie and the team are doing a really good job on Halo: Infinite right now", Spencer continued. "They're learning on the job just like we all are. I think we'll go in eyes wide open on what we're trying to get done, but I don't think we would hold the launch of the overall platform on any individual game. I think we just have to be very transparent with people on where we are and how we're trending."
Halo Infinite is currently the only confirmed launch title for the Xbox Series X, due to release between October and December this year. And while it seems that the next Halo game is still on track to be a launch title, Spencer emphasized that his priority right now is the "safety and security of the teams".
'It's not easy'
There were rumors that the Xbox Series X's launch would be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with China's supply chains back on track, Xbox is still expecting to hit its original release window for the Xbox Series X. According to Spencer, Xbox hasn't got a Plan B in place yet.
"We have nothing right now that says that we're not going to make the dates that we're been planning," Spencer said. "But this is real-time stuff and I'm going to put the safety and security of the teams first."
Instead, Xbox is dealing with a different set of issues. Due to the pandemic, all Microsoft teams are having to work from home, adding a new set of obstacles to the Xbox Series X's development.
"The two big issues we're monitoring right now are building a video game from home, a large distributed team of hundreds of people is not easy," Spencer explained.
"On the hardware platform side, I made it public when I had my Series X at home that I'm using it for testing. And as much as I have a great time doing that, that time with the console is important and we want to make sure we have the right amount of time for platform-tech that we're putting in place to get all the testing done. So we've had to move a lot of that testing in the homes.
"I'd say things right now aren't easy. I think things are stretched, I can feel it in the teams that they're stretched. We have nothing right now that says that we're not going to make the dates that we've been planning. But this is real-time stuff and I'm going to put the safety and security of the teams first."
But the Xbox Series X isn't the only next-gen console releasing late this year. The PS5 is also set to launch in the same window and has been shrouded with similar rumors about delays. However, a Sony PR confirmed the next PlayStation is not been delayed.
"Us and Sony are both dealing with this, we're dealing with it in our own ways," Spencer told IGN.
When asked about how he felt about the competition, Spencer stated that he didn't think it was a "relative exercise" to compare to someone else but that Xbox has tried to set its "own player goals, experience goals, creator goals".
But what did the Xbox boss think about the PS5 spec reveal event last month?
"I felt really good about how Series X lines up," Spencer stated. "I think Mark and the team did some really good work on the audio processing they're talking about, their SSD technology is impressive.
"When we finally saw the public disclosure, I felt even better about the choices that we made on our platform."
Price, games and E3
In addition, Spencer stated that he feels good about the price Xbox Series X will be able to get to and revealed that Xbox doesn't plan to release all its best games on launch day – instead they'll be staggered.
“For the momentum of the platform, it’s not about any one day, it’s about a sustained stream of great games coming from our first party and our third party partners, Spencer explained.
"It doesn’t really help somebody to have eight games launched on one day, and I think you can pace those out."
But we won't see any of those games at E3 2020, which has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead Xbox is holding its own digital event in lieu of the convention, where we're likely to hear more about Xbox Series X games and what the next Xbox has to offer.
"We'll do things between now and the time when E3 was supposed to be, we'll do things throughout the summer," Spencer said. "I think we're just gonna look at how teams can get stuff ready, and how we can best use digital experiences to best deliver experiences to the fans that we have, because that's just the sane way to do this."
- Xbox Series X controller: everything we know so far