Although the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has yet to be quantified, Phil Spencer worries most about games a year or more out.
According to head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, the disruption caused by global lockdowns following the spread of coronavirus will actually hurt the games targeting release in 2021 the most.
Speaking to Business Insider, the Microsoft executive pointed out that games coming in the summer and up to the fall should mostly be fine.
“Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games,” Spencer said. “Games that were targeting a year from now or beyond? There’ll be some impact, but they’ll be able to react.”
The reason for that has to do with how game production works. Games that many months out may not have wrapped up all their motion capture work, for instance, or sound and music recording (for those using orchestras).
“Mocap is just something that’s basically stopped. We’re not going into mocap studios,” he explained.
“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.
With that mind, Spencer is hopeful that studios will be able to adapt quickly. “I’m pretty confident in the industry’s ability to continue a steady flow of games coming out,” he added.
“There’s just a lot of games in production across the industry right now, and I think we’re going to be – as an industry – we’re going to be fine. I’m bullish on what this means in the long run for games, even if there’s a certain impact to a certain launch window for certain titles that we might see.”