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PS5 and Xbox Series X releases delayed? Here’s what top insiders say

Published Mar 11th, 2020 11:02AM EDT
PS5 Release Date
Image: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing/Shutterstock

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  • The PS5 release date might be set for sometime in November, analysts say, which is also when the new Xbox Series X should launch.
  • That’s in line with Sony and Microsoft’s launch plans for the PS4 and Xbox One, which both launched in November 2013.
  • Regardless of what happens with the coronavirus outbreak, the two companies should still be able to start sales during the holiday season, even if stock shortages might hurt initial sales.
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The iPhone 12 isn’t the only highly anticipated product of the year, as 2020 is a particularly special year for gamers. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are expected to launch during the holiday season according to Sony and Microsoft, although we don’t have firm release dates for either console. 2020 is also a special year when it comes to something else, the emergence of a brand new viral disease that can be very dangerous to certain patients. The novel coronavirus outbreak is so massive that it’s already impacting day-to-day life in Western countries, who are just beginning to experience what China ha been going through for the past few months. The lockdowns in mainland China have limited the spread of the virus significantly, but also impacted production lines for various devices, with the iPhone 12 being a prime example of that. The handset is already rumored to see a delay of at least a month. It is therefore perfectly logical to assume that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will see their own delays because of the epidemic. But industry insiders still expect both of the new consoles to hit stores in November, no matter what happens next with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some of the PS5 and Series X rumors that preceded the coronavirus outbreak said the new consoles could launch as soon as October or as late as early December. But analysts with sources inside the industry expect November to be the month when both consoles hit stores. GamesRadar spoke with various experts who offered the same estimate, including Piers Harding-Rolls (IHS Markit), Dr. Serkan Toto (Kantan Games K.K.), and Michael Pachter (Wedbush Securities).

One of the reasons why November is a favorite month for all of them is that it fits with Sony and Microsoft’s launch plans for the previous console generation.

“Similar to the end of 2013 when Xbox One and PS4 launched together, neither company wants to give one another a head start,” Harding-Rolls said. “Sales momentum is crucial in the console sector, especially during the first couple of sales years. This will be 7 years after the current-gen launched, which is a normal timescale for the release of a new generation. Last time they both launched in the same period of the year, and they will be happy to do that again before the holiday sales season.”

Toto, meanwhile, said that announcements are imminent for both consoles, expecting both Microsoft and Sony to fully unveil the consoles this month. Microsoft is already two steps ahead of Sony when it comes to console announcements. The company has revealed both the Series X design and specs in the past three months, while Sony was rather quiet about the PS5 during the same period. The PS5 logo reveal from CES 2020 in early January doesn’t really count because, well, who cares?

The coronavirus outbreak may still affect production, in which case gamers should expect supply shortages during the holiday season. But the analysts don’t expect the epidemic to prevent Sony or Microsoft from launching the consoles during the holiday season.

Pachter said that “the situation in China is actually better than it was a few weeks ago. Wuhan is getting back to normal, and the Chinese government’s restrictions on social contact seem to have sharply limited the spread of disease there.  I expect that business will be back to normal by May or June, well ahead of when Sony and Microsoft need manufacturing to commence in order to ensure a November launch date.”

Analysts aren’t always right, of course, but they often have very good insights given some of them have access to industry secrets not available to the rest of us. That said, we’re still no left waiting for Sony and Microsoft to announce official launch dates and prices for the two consoles.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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