With the world working remotely, the challenges facing the Xbox team can likely be classified as extraordinary. Trying to launch a new console with new software at a time when you can’t be in the same room as your fellow employee, presents significant challenges.
This week, Phil Spencer was on a bit of a media tour and did an interview with IGN but here are the highlights that pertain to the next-generation Xbox, the challenges ahead, and a little talk about pricing.
Phil said that despite all the challenges with remote work and manufacturing delays out of China, the Xbox is still, as of today, on track for a fall release. But, he notes, that testing hardware remotely is stressing the team and forcing them to think outside the (x)box about how to adequately perform the tasks needed before release.
While hardware is a challenge, he states that the software is a bigger issue, at this time than the hardware. While he does provide a little color, it does sound like hardware is all locked-down at this point and the team is working to finalize the software to load on to the devices before mass-manufacturing begins.
When it comes to price, Phil said that when they set out in 2016 to build the console, that they had a price target in mind. And that he feels “good about the price we will be able to get to” and that team Xbox will “stay agile on our pricing”.
While he doesn’t actually provide a price point, his statements are notable in that pricing does not appear to have been set and that they are waiting to see where Sony lands with the PS5 before announcing the price of the Xbox. And for those looking to pre-order, Spencer says likely later this summer those will open up.
Speaking of the PS5, Spencer said that he feels “good about how series X lines up to PS5” and you can tell from the interview that he is extremely pleased that they were able to top Sony’s specs nearly across the spectrum.
One interesting note about xCloud is that Spencer sees it being part of the console experience too. Notably, to make it so that you can jump into GamePass games instantly when looking at them from the dashboard, instead of waiting for all the assets to download.
Finally, on E3, Spencer says that Microsoft has content announcements planned or in the works between now and when that event was scheduled to take place. And that more information will be announced during the summer as well.