To our knowledge, the PlayStation 5 should always go on vacation. Of course, we are starting to get the distinct impression that plans can change. Sony has been relatively silent on its next generation plans since it introduced the familiar system logo at CES 2020 earlier this year, but although it can still stick to an internal schedule, we are beginning to wonder if the escalating coronavirus epidemic has led to a position of silence.
Before continuing, we must point out that there are far more important concerns than video games regarding the aforementioned illness. People are dying, or at least getting seriously ill, and we are not suggesting in any way that new consoles should take precedence over human health. That said, this is a PlayStation website, so of course, we’re going to focus on the impact of our passion, even if it has nothing to do with the grand scheme of things.
It was supposed to be a pivotal year for Sony and the industry as a whole. While there is still a lot we don’t know about the console to come, the company was surprisingly present in 2019, detailing many of the new format’s features in exclusive articles from Wired. It seemed like everything was going in the right direction: the manufacturer was saying the right things about its new hardware, and developers like Insomniac Games and Guerrilla Games seemed ready to take advantage of the new technology.
Unfortunately, we have to face the very real possibility that the platform will not deploy at all this year. The problems are immediately obvious: Chinese manufacturers are generally responsible for building consumer electronics operating at limited capacity or outright quarantined, the Japanese giant may not be able to order enough stock of its new system to supply efficiently a global launch. At best, this means that supplies are scarce – and at worst, a global lag.
But production is just the tip of the iceberg. Sony can choose to advertise the system as part of a pre-recorded livestream – perhaps it already intended to do so before the launch of the coronavirus? – but it will not be able to effectively demonstrate the device to the media and consumers when conventions such as the Game Developers Conference are canceled. The organization had already withdrawn from E3 2020 for professional reasons, but it deliberately decided to remove its PAX East 2020 bumper based on employee safety.
With more people staying at home to avoid illness, there is an argument to be made that the video game market can be bigger than ever. However, coronavirus can also affect development, as offices are closed worldwide. And there’s also the issue of a possible global recession to consider, which will seriously hamper sales of new, expensive hardware like the PS5.
Sony will know more about how its plans are likely to be affected, but the reality is that even it may have to wait and see. It will be very close to completing the hardware now, as new systems generally go into production about six months before their release. However, it will not be certain that it will be able to complete the plays and launch its launch games, and perhaps we may all have to accept the fact that the next generation may arrive later than expected.
How would you feel if the PS5 were delayed? Did you have your hopes on a release date in 2020, or would you be ready to wait until next year now? Think about it in the comments section below.