Phil Spencer Reckons Game Development Disruption Will Be Felt More in 2021

Xbox Series X

Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft, recently told CNBC that game development production might be more impacted by the effects of COVID_19 than hardware production of the new Xbox Series X console.

Now, in a new interview with Business Insider, Spencer posited that disruption will be felt far more in 2021 than this year because the games due for release in the next few months probably already have all of their motion capture done, whereas the same might not be true for the titles that are further out in the schedule.

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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.

Mocap is just something that's basically stopped. We're not going into mocap studio. 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.

It's really in those games that were trying to finally get all their asset base together in terms of art production that they might have the biggest impact.

Even in this interview, Spencer reiterated his confidence in Microsoft's ability to deliver the Xbox Series X this year. He's also adamant the industry will be able to provide a steady flow of games, even when considering potential delays.

Even though we're obviously not traveling to China, we feel good about our progress on hardware. I've got my take-home [console] downstairs and I'm playing on it most nights, and I feel good about the software updates that we're doing.

From the kind of pomp and circumstance around launches, you might find a time where there's some impact, some things that were going to launch, and maybe they moved a little bit.

I'm pretty confident in the industry's ability to continue a steady flow of games coming out. 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.

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