As far as we know, the PlayStation 5 is still planned for the coming vacation. Of course we start to get the clear impression that plans can change. Sony has been relatively silent about its next generation of plans, as it displayed the well-known logo of the system at CES 2020 earlier this year, but while it may still be an internal timeline, we are beginning to wonder if the escalating corona virus epidemic has pushed it in a position of silence.
Before we continue, we must point out that there are far greater concerns than video games when it comes to the aforementioned disease. People die or at least get seriously ill, and we do not suggest in any way that new consoles should take precedence over people's health. That said, this is a PlayStation website, so we're naturally going to focus on the impact on our passion, even if it isn't relevant in the big picture.
This was supposed to be a pivotal year for Sony and the industry as a whole. Although there is still a lot we don't know about the upcoming console, the company was surprising in 2019, with many of the features of the new format in exclusive Wired articles. It felt like everything was going in the right direction: the manufacturer said the right things about his new hardware and developers such as Insomniac Games and Guerrilla Games seemed ready to exploit the new technology.
Unfortunately, we have to face the very real possibility that the platform cannot be used at all this year. The problems are obvious: with the Chinese manufacturers usually in charge of building consumer electronics that work with limited capacity or are completely quarantined, the Japanese giant may not be able to order enough inventory of its new system to be effective deliver a worldwide launch. In the best case this means that stocks are scarce – and in the worst case a global slowdown.
But production is just the tip of the iceberg. Sony may choose to announce the system as part of a pre-recorded live stream – perhaps it was already planning to do that before the corona virus started? – 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 The organization had already withdrawn from E3 2020 for business reasons, but it made a conscious decision to show its bumper PAX East 2020 based on employee safety.
With more people staying at home to prevent the disease, there is an argument that the market for video games may be bigger than ever before. However, the corona virus can also affect development, closing offices around the world. And there is also a potential global recession to consider that will seriously hamper the sale of expensive new hardware, such as the PS5.
Sony will know more about how his plans are likely to be affected, but the reality is that even it might have to wait. It will now be almost done to complete the hardware, as new systems usually go into production about six months before release. Whether it will be able to finish the parts and launch games is uncertain, however, and perhaps we should all come to terms with the fact that the next generation can arrive later than we all expected.
How would you feel if the PS5 was delayed? Had you set your hopes on a 2020 release date or would you now like to wait until next year? Think about it in the comment below.