In a recent interview with Business Insider, Xbox’s Phil Spencer suggested that COVID-19’s impact on the game industry will be felt much worse in 2021 as opposed to 2020. The good news, however, is that delaying the Xbox Series X is still entirely out of the question for Microsoft.
To understand why 2021 will be worse on game development than 2020, a period where just about everyone is working from home, you have to take into consideration what goes into creating a AAA video game – things like motion capture (MOCAP) and Audio composition, for example, can’t be done from home, Most of the games set to launch this year have already been through the majority of motion capturing. Games coming next year, however, are a completely different story.
“Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games. Games that were targeting a year from now or beyond? There’ll be some impact, but they’ll be able to react.”
To explain that impact, he touched base on what’s happening behind the scenes:
“Mocap is just something that’s basically stopped. We’re not going into mocap studios. If you had all your animation captured and you’re doing touch up in more individual art production and in areas like textures and other things, you’re in a better position. If you’re waiting for a lot of either large audio work — when it’s with symphonies and other things — or mocap, you’re held up right now and you’re making progress in areas that you are.”
So, in other words, despite the massive number of game delays this year, 2021 will probably be inherently worse as studios struggle to play catchup. This could mean that full-fledged next-gen games could also be in short supply until at least 2022. On a positive note, we know that the Series X will launch even if Halo Infinite is delayed and we should see some fresh Series X gameplay in July. Even better yet, one industry analyst has suggested that the Series X could launch with a $400 price tag.