2020 is going to be a huge year for gaming but there are early signs of potential disruption for some big tech launches, which could even extend to the release of the PS5. While the PlayStation 4 has proven a winning product for Sony and has now surpassed 100 million units sold, things were different back in 2013. One key difference is the spread of the Coronavirus, which continues to disrupt major events and the release of new products.
And some analysts are starting to estimate if the current outbreak could affect the release of Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.
A lot depends on how long the Coronavirus is active and how badly it affects manufacturing in places like China.
And now the first major piece of gaming hardware has been delayed, with Konami announcing that they will not be releasing the TurboGrafx-16 Mini retro console in March.
“Regarding the PC Engine Core Grafx mini console and its peripheral accessories, the manufacturing and shipping facilities in China have encountered an unavoidable suspension due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” a message from Konami explains.
“As a result, the delivery of all PC Engine Core Grafx mini products, which was originally scheduled for March 19th, 2020, will be delayed until further notice.
“We deeply apologize to our customers for the significant inconvenience, and we humbly ask for your understanding and patience while we keep our close attention on the situation.
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“We are investing all of our efforts to deliver the PC Engine Core Grafx mini as soon as possible, and will provide further details on the deliver timing once confirmed.”
And this is the exact situation analysts say could affect the release and potential price of the PS5.
While there are still many months until the launch of the new next-gen consoles, supply shortages and manufacturing delays now could cause a ripple effect.
This could lead to a shortage of PlayStation consoles at launch, a change in price, or the potential to push back the PS5 release until 2021.
Sony has yet to announce the actual day the PS5 will be released and they have yet to reveal a final price.
So that leaves a little wiggle-room for the company as we head into March and April. But while fans have been willing to wait up until this point, it’s hard to say how much more patience they will have.
According to a report from Business Insider, the Jefferies Group believes a shutdown will affect the release date of the PS5 in 2020.
This will depend on how long the disruption lasts, with the note adding: “The video game sector is currently manufacturing, or beginning to, a once-in-several-years’ product generation change for the 2020 holiday season.
“If [company] shutdowns exceed a month or so, game schedules will be delayed. New consoles may likewise suffer supply issues from a prolonged disruption, ahead of their Fall 2020 planned launches.”
Other analysts believe that Sony and Microsoft could switch production hubs to avoid delays. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter told TechRadar: “If Coronavirus lasts through June, it will be a problem for [Microsoft and Sony]
“It’s possible that it lasts that long, but the stock market tells you that is not the case. If it were, the market would be tanking because of the long-term disruption of the supply chain.”
“I could see Apple panicking if Coronavirus is still an issue in a month, but I think Sony and Microsoft will quietly arrange for production in Taiwan and Vietnam (at a cost of maybe $5 – 10 per unit more at most) just to be safe.”
The idea of both companies having back up plans in place in case of disruption in China does make sense and would mean avoiding a delay. But if production had to go somewhere else, this also raises the question of whether this added cost will need to be passed on to consumers.
It’s unclear if a change would mean a higher cost per unit, and how much that could mean for each console.
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