With Nintendo’s Switch production grinding to a halt in Japan due to global concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, could the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X be pushed back too?
As if you even needed telling, Sony and Microsoft are again readying their revolutionary machines to usher in the next generation of console gaming, with both the PS5 and Xbox Series X slated for launch before the holiday season rolls around again. Exciting I know. Now for the ‘fear mongerry’ part.
If everyone and their mother hasn’t already scared you sh*tless with spiel about the recent coronavirus outbreak, gaming ‘in the knows’ and investment bankers are now claiming quarantine procedures in China are ‘likely’ to impact the production of several of the nation’s manufacturing giants. And murmurings that Sony and Microsoft’s flagship consoles are to be pushed back beyond the turn of the year, or at least suffer constrained launch supply, are starting to snowball on social media.
That wouldn’t be very Christmassy.
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo said that 96% of consoles imported to the US in 2018 were produced in China.
Hence why the coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on manufacturing. https://t.co/AAgQzF2JGM
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) February 6, 2020
The reports, and the facts
Health concerns aside (just watch the six O’clock news), the manufacturing capital of the world China is currently having to navigate some real economic challenges. With 28,000 reported cases of infection (as of Wednesday) in China alone, electronics supply chains are being frozen all across the mainland. The leading manufacturer of iPhone Foxconn has been forced to quarantine workers across several warehouses and now the schedule for the release of the next iPhone is likely to be postponed as a result, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Most games and gaming technologies are developed in North America, Europe, and Japan, but you’d be hard pressed to find a product that hasn’t been outsourced to China at some stage of the build. When talking hardware components, anyone with a whiff of inside knowledge knows they’re almost exclusively created in China.
It doesn’t bode well that Nintendo has had already had to concede and halt shipments of the Switch and many of its new accessories to Japan this week, with The Outer Worlds’ port developer Virtuos also being frozen indefinitely.
Thankfully, it appears Microsoft and Sony have implemented countermeasures should the outbreak escalate and press them to follow suit. Obviously, that’s no consolation to anyone wanting to nab a shiny new Switch this month… soz.